Watch out, drivers: Toledo's first red-light cameras were installed yesterday, and authorities expect they will be up and running by the end of the week.
“It's been a long time coming,” police Lt. Louis Borucki said of the cameras at Hill Avenue and Byrne Road, installed after years of discussion and months of delays.
The cameras must be checked to make sure they are catching the images of vehicles running the red lights. The computer system used by Redflex, the California company hired by the city to operate the cameras, also needs to be connected to the police department within the next month.
Using the computer, police review the images of vehicles running red lights and determine whether a violation has occurred. Redflex mails $75 fines for the violations to the vehicle's owner.
Redflex and the city will each receive a portion of the fines, Lieutenant Borucki said. Redflex will receive 90 per cent of the revenue from the first 12,000 fines issued per year and the city will receive 10 per cent.
As more tickets are issued, the company will receive a smaller percentage of the revenue. Redflex is guaranteed 55 per cent of the profits and the city 45 per cent, the lieutenant said.
There will be a 30-day warning period to owners of vehicles that are caught running red lights at Hill and Byrne. Warning letters will be sent, but no citations will be issued.
The first citations are expected to be mailed in January. Alleged violators can appeal the tickets.
Authorities may announce a date when the citations will start to be mailed out and may have images from the camera next week. Eight other intersections are slated for cameras. There will be no warning period when those cameras are installed.
“I think we've been encouraged by what we've heard about other cities with the cameras, that accidents are down. If [the cameras] prove their worth, they will definitely be good, especially if they reduce accidents,” Barbara Jones, the city's chief signal engineer, said.
Toledo ranked first in Ohio and 20th among U.S. cities in the death rate associated with traffic accidents involving motorists who failed to stop for red lights, according to a study released in July by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a lobbying group in Arlington, Va.