Police Say Red Light Cameras Working Correctly

Falls Church Times Staff

February 10, 2011

Some area residents have expressed concern that Falls Church City’s new red-light cameras are incorrectly ticketing drivers who are actually operating their vehicles legally.

But a police official in charge of the program says that’s not the case, and that the cameras are functioning as intended.

The controversy grew when Arlington resident William Derosiers wrote to the Falls Church Times to inquire whether the cameras were inappropriately flashing and ticketing drivers who made legal right turns on red. Mr. Desrosiers said he received a warning in the mail for just such a situation, and The Times published Mr. Derosiers’ assertion and concern as a letter to the editor on Feb. 3. A total of 17 comments were posted by readers within one day.

Some of the comments challenged the Times to get to the bottom of the matter. Ask, and ye shall receive.

Police officials say the camera is designed to not only catch traditional red-light runners, but also those drivers who fail to first come to a complete stop, as required by law, before making a legal right on red.

“A vehicle that comes to a complete stop before entering the intersection to turn right on red will not generate a recorded violation,” said Sgt. P. M. Uelmen, who directs the city police’s Intersection Safety Program.

“Our automated enforcement system is designed to record all red light violations, including those in which the vehicle fails to come to a complete stop before turning right.”

Mr. Derosiers contended in his letter that he did stop first, and without seeing the video, it would be impossible for anyone else to determine. If motorists believe they have been wrongly ticketed, they can contest the ticket in court, as they can for any other driving infraction.

The red light cameras are operating in the city at Broad and Annandale streets and Broad and Cherry streets. City Manager Wyatt Shields recently said infractions are running above projections at those intersections, but that driving behavior also is improving.

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By Stephen Siegel
February 10, 2011 


4 Responses to “Police Say Red Light Cameras Working Correctly”

  1. TFC on February 10th, 2011 7:48 am

    Nice reporting job…..I had no idea the cameras would cite right turn on red violations as well as red light running. Next thing will be speed monitoring. Wonder if these same machines can be programmed for that function too?

  2. Tom Coffin, City of Falls Church on February 10th, 2011 8:17 am

    at 175K a pop they can probably brown toast if you program them right. :)

  3. hatfield FCC on February 10th, 2011 12:04 pm

    I would be to see speed cameras installed on Route 7/Broad Street as well as on US29/211 / Washington Street. I can envision an improvement in the quality of life of those who live along those roads, conduct their daily business transactions there, and are currently subjected to the rude habits of drivers who are just passing through. Might I remind those passing-through scofflaw drivers that the speed limit is the maximum speed allowed, not the suggest minimum.

  4. TFC on February 10th, 2011 1:52 pm

    @Tom, your levity is welcome…wonder if they can run a quick diagnostic on my car as it passes under? Fuel/air mix, emissions, tranny brain working? Maybe a fast State safety inspection too.

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