In Santa Cruz, California, a red-light camera has taken on a life of its own. The camera, installed last month at an intersection near the mall, is suffering from a serious glitch.
The camera has begun flashing sporadically, startling drivers and panicking others.
According to Police Chief Richard Ehle, “it’s going nuts.”
The camera, which was moved from a previous location, is apparently hypersensitive to traffic flow. As a result the camera is snapping photos of holiday shoppers that turn right on red-which is legal at this intersection. When the cars gently roll ahead anticipating the green light before making the right turns, the camera is snapping a photo.
This combined with other scenarios has the camera working overtime according to the police chief. Local police are then forced to look through the video footage to determine who actually broke the law and who is a victim of the camera gone wild.
Police Chief Ehle said, “fifty to 60 percent of the photos are drivers who did nothing illegal.” Neighborhood employees say the camera flashing “is happening to everybody.”
The department is said to be working on fixing the camera. In the meantime, drivers who are unfairly ticketed will need to call the police department, view the video and have it determined that they did not break the law. If the ticket was issued in error, it will be rescinded according to Ehle.
But what about the drivers who receive a ticket, assume that they have done something wrong, and just pay the fine to avoid the hassle? What are the chances the police department will go out of their way to notify them that their ticket was issued in error?
It begs the question: If everyone knows that the camera is broken, then why don’t they shut it down until it can be fixed?
Perhaps the $300-$400 fine from unsuspecting drivers is just too good to pass up.