Below are some of the most common questions asked regarding the City of Wenatchee's Automated Traffic Safety Program:
What is a red light violation?
One of the most common questions asked about red light cameras is whether a citation will be issued if your vehicle is in the intersection when the traffic signal turns red. The short answer is - NO. Your vehicle must cross the painted stop line after the traffic signal turns red to constitute a red light violation.
A red light violation is any time you have a steady red signal, whether round or arrow, and you fail to COMPLETELY stop the movement of your vehicle prior to crossing the stop line. All intersections that are monitored by this program have thick painted white stop lines prior to the marked crosswalks. For the complete law, click on the following link: Revised Code of Washington 46.61.050
Is the program up and running yet?
It is anticipated that the equipment will be installed and operational by June 1, 2010 and a 30-day warning period will begin. Citations will be issued after the completion of the warning period and cost $124. The infraction is issued against the car's registered owner, like a parking ticket, so your insurance rates and driver's license WILL NOT be affected. However, if you fail to pay the fines and/or respond to the court in the time allowed, the Department of Licensing can hold your vehicle tabs until the fine and all related late fees are paid.
The camera flashed.... Will I get a ticket?
Not necessarily - there are two images required to enforce a red light citation. The first image is as the vehicle comes to the stop line at the intersection. The second is as the vehicle goes through the intersection. If your vehicle approaches the intersection at a certain speed, the camera will take the first picture in anticipation that you'll run the red light. However, if you come to a COMPLETE stop, you will not receive a citation. After this data is collected, several different people view the information to determine whether or not it is an actual violation. It is then sent to the police department for final approval. The camera does not make the decision whether or not to cite a vehicle, a police officer does.
How do the red light cameras work?
The camera system used by American Traffic Solutions (ATS) has three basic components:
- A high resolution camera for taking still color photos
- A video camera that provides a broader view of the offending vehicle and any other vehicles, pedestrians, or cyclists in the intersection
- A vehicle sensing device that activates the still and video cameras which record the approaching vehicles that the system “predicts” will violate a red signal.
Photographic and video images of violation events are sent electronically from the traffic safety camera system to the ATS data center where they are reviewed against criteria established by the Wenatchee Police Department. Events that clearly are not violations are rejected at the data center. Trained officers at the Wenatchee Police Department, who authorize issuance of citations for those deemed in violation, review events that appear to meet Wenatchee Police Department criteria.
Where are red light cameras located in Wenatchee?
Three intersections have red light camera systems installed in Wenatchee. The intersections are:
Northbound - Mission Street at Kittitas Street
Southbound - Chelan Avenue at Orondo Street
Southbound - Chelan Avenue at 5th Street
Why do we have red light cameras in Wenatchee?
This is a safety program. Automated safety systems have been shown to reduce red-light violations and intersection crashes. Numerous studies throughout the U.S. and worldwide, as well as the experience of many other cities, indicate significant decreases in red-light running violations and collisions after cameras were installed. Often times, a spillover effect results from automated enforcement: other intersections not monitored by automated enforcement also see a decrease in violations and accidents because of the presence of enforcement in other areas of the community.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety:
“Cameras have been shown to substantially reduce red light violations. Institute evaluations in Fairfax, Virginia, and Oxnard, California, showed that camera enforcement reduced red light running violations by about 40 percent. In addition to reducing red light running at camera-equipped sites, violation reductions in both communities carried over to signalized intersections not equipped with red light cameras, indicating community-wide changes in driver behavior. An Institute evaluation of red light cameras in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, found that red light violations were reduced by 36 percent following increased yellow signal timing, the addition of red light cameras further reduced red light violations by 96 percent.”