New Video Explains Red Light Camera Violation Process

The city of San Mateo throws out about 42 percent of its violations.

You get a red light camera ticket in the mail and it’s confusing. To pay or not to pay? Many times you are obligated to pay when there is irrefutable proof. Sometimes, though, you receive what is referred to as a ‘snitch ticket,’ which carries no obligation.

That’s where American Traffic Solutions, based in Scottsdale, Arizona, comes in. The company has released a video that covers “the careful review process every red-light running event captured by red-light safety cameras passes through before a violation is issued."

Now, this is handy when you want to feel better about paying your fine. The company claims “more than half of the events captured . . . are rejected during the review process.”

There are five red light camera locations in San Mateo:

  1. EB Hillsdale Blvd to NB Saratoga Drive
  2. SB Saratoga Drive to EB & WB Hillsdale Blvd
  3. EB Hillsdale Blvd to S. Norfolk Street
  4. WB Hillsdale Blvd to S. Norfolk Street
  5. EB 4th Avenue to Humboldt Street

The city of San Mateo, which contracts with RedFlex Traffic Systems, also based in Scottsdale, throws out about 42 percent of its tickets, according to figures from highwayrobbery.net.

That means 58 percent of filmed violations could be subject to a snitch ticket, a cleverly designed document issued to mislead the registered owner.

ATS wants you to know how particular the industry is in making sure a red light violation has occurred before issuing a ticket. They have produced a video, the Violation Process Review.

The video examines the emphasis on detail and how tickets are rechecked and checked again by ATS employees and police to ensure that every event captured that results in a violation being issued, meets all of the issuing authority’s legal requirements.

This video becomes a companion piece to an earlier ATS video explaining how redlight safety cameras work.

This latest version covers the review process for more than 3,200 ATS’ red-light, speed and school bus stop-arm safety cameras currently operating in the U.S. and Canada. The issuing authority makes the final review and approves the violation for a ticket.

“Hopefully this video will help further explain the review process and clear up any misconceptions about how a captured event becomes an issued violation,” ATS  vice president of communications Charles Territo said. “As this video shows, the people at ATS and its nearly 300 customers across North American carefully review each event. Red-light, speed, and school bus stop arm safety cameras have proven to be an effective tool for law enforcement to deploy to help change driver behavior.”

The City of San Mateo introduced the Red Light Photo Enforcement program in 2005 as an avenue to target the intersections with the highest accident rates.

Three cameras are in operation in San Mateo, none were identified in Foster City. They are located at the following intersections:

Eastbound Hillsdale Blvd to Northbound Saratoga Drive
Southbound Saratoga Drive to Eastbound and Westbound Hillsdale Blvd 
Eastbound Hillsdale Blvd to S. Norfolk Street
Westbound Hillsdale Blvd to S. Norfolk Street
Eastbound 4th Avenue to Humboldt Street

San Mateo Police Chief Susan Manheimer writes on the county’s website: “The Red Light Photo Enforcement program allows the city to provide a higher level of enforcement at our problematic intersections without additional costs.”

Red-light running is the leading cause of urban crashes, according to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, injuring more people than any other crash type.

In a survey performed by Old Dominion University, 55.8 percent of Americans admit to running red lights, and, astoundingly, 96 percent of drivers were afraid of being hit by a red light runner.


Get the latest news from San Mateo:

Robert C February 26, 2013 at 07:31 PM
Agreed, Red light cameras are revenue generators! Nothing more! Nothing Less. They do increase rear end accidents though.
yoyo February 27, 2013 at 02:30 AM
The cameras are installed as ATM machines for San Mateo county. Safety? Reduction in accidents? U really can't believe that govt BS talk. It's all about the bread. Nothing more.
Jim February 27, 2013 at 05:32 AM
In case you didn't catch it in the article, some of the "tickets" mailed out by the police are fake tickets, that can be ignored. For more info about them, click on the link in the article, or Google the term Snitch Ticket.
Roger February 27, 2013 at 04:47 PM
Cameras exist only if enough revenue through fines is achieved to pay the rent to the camera vendor. Revenue enhancers are (a) Keeping yellow lights at or near the legal minimums and (b) Right on red tickets. Add just 1/2 second to the yellow light and straight through red light running will decrease by about half. Massive ticketing will not achieve this result. Once that is done then it is the right on red tickets that will be needed to pay for the cameras. Here is how that game is played. The vehicle code calls for a nearly $500 fine if a motorist does not come to a full and complete stop before turning on red. Even though only 1/2 of 1% of accidents are as a result of this infraction, the fine is huge. No proof is necessary that such an infraction was unsafe or put anyone at risk. However, an actual failure to yield to another motorist, or bicyclist, or pedestrian carries a penalty of about $250. Understand? If a turn on green, or a turn after a complete stop actually endangers someone's safety, the fine is $250. However, not stopping on red before turning without anyone in sight carries a fine of twice as much.
Allene February 28, 2013 at 05:01 AM
Can't bring a red light as a witness. Just a rent a cop way of making revenue...Robo cop...Meg Whitman calls me on my robot answering machine. I don't need a robot cop giving me a ticket based on an Arizona address.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »