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City of Renton Begins Photo Enforcement of Red Lights to Improve Safety

30-day Warning Period Begins May 1

April 17, 2008

For more information contact:

Kent Curry,     Commander Police/Patrol Services, Renton Police Department 425-430-7555
Preeti Shridhar, Communications Director 425-430-6569, cell 206-491-8158

RENTON- Beginning May 1, 2008, motorists who travel some of Renton’s busiest intersections should be careful not to run red lights or they could receive a violation notice. The City of Renton is launching the “Photo Enforcement Program” that uses traffic cameras to make the streets safer.

Cameras have been installed at the following key intersections:

  • NE 3rd & Sunset Blvd. N.
  • SW 43rd & E.Valley Road
  • Rainier S. & S. Grady Way
  • Sunset N./SR 169/Bronson Way N. intersection

The city has also installed warning signs near these intersections that alert drivers to the red light cameras. There will be a 30-day warning period in May, during which violators will be mailed a warning notice instead of a ticket. After the warning period, the registered owner of the offending car will receive a ticket for $124.

“Our goal is to stop red-light violators, prevent collisions and make our streets safer,” said Mayor Denis Law. “There is no excuse for running a red light and putting pedestrians and other drivers at risk.”

The program is part of the city’s continuing efforts to increase traffic safety in neighborhoods. In 2007, the City Council authorized special patrols to emphasize traffic safety. As a result, the total number of traffic stops increased by almost 74% compared to 2006.

“While some critics may argue that money has motivated cities to use traffic cameras, the reality is that the cameras are intended strictly to increase safety and re-educate drivers about being careful on the roads,” said Law. “We are going to dedicate any excess revenues that the program generates to public safety-from traffic calming devices to police traffic enforcement in our neighborhoods.”

The City of Renton has a contract with American Traffic Solutions (ATS) to provide the red light camera enforcement program.  ATS is installing and maintaining all equipment related to this program and process. 

The cameras operate 24 hours a day and capture still photographs and video of every vehicle that runs a red light at the intersection.  If a violation occurs, a notice of infraction will be sent to the vehicle’s owner.  Violators may view a 12-second video clip through the web site www.ViolationInfo.com, provided by ATS. 

Photos are not taken until the law is broken, and the cameras only capture pictures of the rear of the offending vehicle and license plate. These cameras pose no threat to privacy and cut down on red light running vehicles.

The registered owner who receives the notice can pay the fine using one of the following methods: pay the fine online at www.ViolationInfo.com, by mail, by phone using a credit card, or in person at Renton Municipal Court. Violators may also request a hearing on the notice of infraction. More information on these options is available on the web pages of the Renton Police Department or Renton Municipal Court at rentonwa.gov.

“Public safety is the primary reason for the program,” said Judge Terry Jurado. “If drivers pay attention to the warning signs, slow down, and stop for red lights, the cameras will prove to be a great low-cost investment and help create safer streets and neighborhoods.”

A study by the Federal Highway Administration showed red light cameras had a significant effect in reducing dangerous accidents. Vehicles running red lights typically increase their speed and can cause high-speed, side-door collisions resulting in serious injury and death.

More than 100 communities in California, Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia have installed red light cameras. In Washington, Auburn, Lakewood, Lynnwood and Seattle have also implemented photo enforcement programs. The state legislature authorized statewide use of red light cameras in 2005.

The city will also be installing speed cameras that capture speed violations in school zones during school hours at Renton High School, Talbot Hill Elementary School, and McKnight Middle School.

For more information on Renton’s Photo Enforcement Program, visit rentonwa.gov. To learn more about American Traffic Solutions, visit www.atsol.com.