Aurora Red Light Cameras Questioned

Aurora is currently a red light enforcement community.  The city has red light cameras at various locations.  The city’s contract with Xerox for the red light cameras is expiring in June.  The contract has not yet been renewed because it is uncertain whether the cameras will continue to be used.  While the cameras generate about $3 million a year, the city council is split on their continued use.  Some council members question whether the cameras actually detect or prevent accidents.  Some council members are proposing that the matter go before the community in November, while others do not feel it is necessary.

Accident research guides placement of the cameras.  There are about a dozen cameras placed throughout the city.  The city says a red light ticket will not be issued if a car enters the intersection on a yellow light or if a car is in the intersection when the light turns yellow and the car must clear the intersection after the light turns red.  Technicians conduct an initial review before turning potential tickets over to police reviewers.  The police reviewers decide whether to issue a ticket or notice in the same way they would decide whether to issue a ticket during an in person traffic stop.  If a ticket is issued, the alleged driver is given instructions on how to view any photographs or video, how to pay the fine and how to contest the ticket.

The Aurora Police Department is in favor of the cameras.  Tickets or notices for alleged violations do not come with a points assessment like other traffic tickets, but there is a fine to be paid.  If a person fails to pay in a timely fashion, the notice is sent back to the police for re-review.  The police then decide whether a summons and complaint will be issued and personally served on the driver.

These types of tickets are different from a ticket issued by a police officer who personally observes a person run a red light.  If a person is pulled over by an officer and cited for running a red light, there are points assessed and a fine may be imposed.  Additionally, while the driver may have the option of paying a fine ahead of time, the in person ticket is the summons and complaint, so the ticket does not get sent back to the police for review if no payment is received.  The driver is expected to appear for court on the date stated on the ticket.  If he or she fails to appear, then a bench warrant can be issued.