Red light photo tickets likely to survive despite stop line issue, critic says

Page 2 of 2

"I'd bet on it continuing," she says, noting that she was only joined by Councilwoman Susan Shepherd in opposing the measure.

In the beginning, Faatz admits that "I was very enthusiastic about the program, because they" -- ACS State and Local Solutions Inc., which has a $700,000 contract with the city to run photo ticketing -- "sold it as a way to check people who are running red lights. And that's certainly something I want to do. But in this case, they're also giving tickets to people who are simply stopping on the line, and that's a problem for me."

As noted by the Denver Post, drivers whose wheels wind up on the white stop line at one of four intersections outfitted with photo tickets in Denver are given a $75 fine -- the same amount as if they'd actually been caught running the light. Moreover, a technical improvement launched in April caused the number of tickets, and the attendant revenue, to skyrocket from $230,000 in fines between January and April to $1.3 million from May to October -- and Faatz's been told that 60 percent of the violations are of the white-line variety.

Faatz doesn't have a problem with people being cited for moving onto the white line, but only if an on-site cop would make the same judgement. "I don't believe an officer in the vicinity would give the ticket in some of these cases, where there are no pedestrians and no safety hazards present in the crosswalk at all -- no bicyclists, no children, no dogs. And yet some people have been given tickets in those cases. Some of my constituents have shown me the photos."

Page down for an example, and the rest of the story.
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts