Council Approves Red Light Cameras

SPOKANE — Red light cameras are coming to an intersection near you.

The Spokane City Council approved installation of the controversial cameras.

Six cameras will be installed initially, with the locations not yet determined. Division and Sprague is a leading contender because it is one of the worst intersections in the city for crashes.

The cameras are intended to cut down on the number of red light runners and T-bone crashes. They will work by taking two pictures, one when the light turns red and another a second later. They also record video.

A Spokane Police Officer then reviews the pictures and decides if an infraction occurred.

If there is a violation, the owner of the vehicle is sent a citation with the pictures and a link where you can watch the video. The citation costs $124 but it’s like a parking ticket and does not impact your car insurance.

The cameras have shown to reduce red lighting running and T-bone crashes. Worldwide, statistics show violations drop 40 to 50 percent. However, the camera systems have show to increase rear-enders, because people slam on their brakes to avoid a ticket.

The council approved the cameras 5-2.

“I just don’t see a downside, if you’re not breaking the law you don’t have anything to worry about,” Councilwoman Nancy McGlaughlin said.

“My personal experience tells me, anytime we can prevent a T-bone accident it’s a benefit to our tax payers,” Councilman Al French said.

Councilman Bob Apple and Michael Allen voted against it, questioning whether it was more about revenue than safety. Seattle made $900,000 the first year with the cameras.

Spokane anticipates making only $190,000 per year with tickets paying for the program.

If you receive a ticket in the mail and you weren’t driving, the ticket must be dropped.