California News

Red-light camera bill: Turn in friend or pay fine

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Red light cameras have always been a hot-button issue in California. Now there's a proposal that would force ticketed car owners to turn in their friends if that friend was behind the wheel, or else pay the hefty fine themselves.

Currently, if a friend or relative ran a red light in your car the ticket is mailed to you to pay and you could fight it in court. If officials can't prove who was behind the wheel, the fine is dropped.

Under a new bill, Assembly Bill 666, that would change. You'd have one of two options: Turn your friend in to authorities or pay the hefty fine yourself.

State Assemblymember Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) championed the bill.

"This bill aims to cut the cost of red light tickets and to have them administered at the municipal level to relieve the burden on our courts, while maintaining an individual's right to appeal to the courts," said Wieckowski.

Which means red light tickets would be treated like toll violations: You wouldn't have a point added to your driving record and affect your insurance premium.

"I think it's a positive thing in that, based on my experience, most people that contest the citations, their main goal is to have that fine reduced," said Santa Ana Police Corporal Mark Bell.

However, it's still unclear how much fines would drop or how you would dispute the citations under the proposed new legislation.

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