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California: Judge Finds Yellow Times Too Short At Camera Intersection

Posted By:
August 8, 2016


Scott Ball was recently quoted in an article from the

Officials in Los Alamitos, California will soon have to decide whether they will refund red light camera tickets illegally issued in the city. Last week, Orange County Superior Court Commissioner Lyle J. Robertson dismissed nineteen red light camera tickets because the city was caught shortchanging motorists on yellow signal timing.

Compliance with the law is a precondition to issuing the tickets in the first place. The fact that the camera wasn’t in compliance means all the tickets should be thrown out, and the judge agreed with that.

Attorney Scott R. Ball filed the challenge after noticing that the yellow time at the photo enforced intersection of Katella Avenue and Bloomfield Street was unusually short at 4.0 seconds. Under state law, the yellow timing is set based on the speed of traffic at a red light camera approach. Ball figured out that the city’s traffic engineers measured traffic speeds in both westbound and eastbound directions and averaged the two figures to arrive at the 4.0 second calculation. This methodology did not comply with the law, as the camera only tickets people traveling westbound, where traffic speeds of 41 MPH require a 4.3 second minimum yellow timing.

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