Council Bluffs today (Wednesday) turned on a set of cameras at intersections where problems drivers cause a lot of wrecks. Council Bluffs Police Sergeant Chad Meyers says the Red-Light Photo Enforcement Project makes its debut at two city intersections. If somebody runs a red light, the system takes three digital photos and a 12-second video of the violation happening. A 65-dollar ticket will be mailed to them. The system, aimed at catching red-light runners, is already in use in the Quad Cities, and officer Meyers says they’ve anticipated some questions like — what it if wasn’t the owner driving a car caught running the light? The ordinance includes “registered owner liability,” which means the owner’s responsible for any violations, regardless of who was driving. If it was stolen there are legal remedies, but basically if it was your car, you’re responsible for the fine. Meyers says red-light runners cause accidents, and many of those wrecks involve injuries. For the next fifteen days it’s a warning period — tickets will be sent to violators but they won’t carry a penalty. It’s a time for the cops to learn the system, too, but at a minute after midnight on August 4th Meyers says people start getting real tickets for red-light violations. It’s not like a security video, and Meyers says the cameras won’t be rolling continuously. He says some people have indicated concerns about civil rights, but he explains the cameras don’t start shooting till you run a red light, and there are no photos taken of a driver’s face. The city’s not sure if it will make money from the system, which will be run by a contractor, but the Sergeant says it gives additional law enforcement the police force can’t provide.
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