Bellingham: “Safe drivers” won’t be cited for right on red

In a recent article by the Bellingham Herald, they are trying to assure drivers that if they are not “driving dangerously” they won’t receive a ticket for “right on red”.

This is a concern because most of the cities that use the automatic ticket cameras end up issuing the majority of their tickets for minor technical violations concerning right hand turns when the light is red. The common violations include: The driver didn’t stop “long enough”, stopped after the stop line, or rolled slowly through the turn.

Bellingham wants its citizens to believe that they will be the exception to all the other cities that use the automatic ticket cameras, and they will actually be fair when issuing tickets:

Will locals receive tickets from the automated traffic cameras if they stop over the ’stop line’ and then take a right on a red light?

The answer is: Well, it depends.

Bellingham police will give drivers who are driving carefully and cautiously the benefit of the doubt, but those driving dangerously will receive a ticket, Bellingham police Lt. Scott Snider told me.

It will be interesting to see what kind of things will begin to meet the definition of “driving dangerously”. I highly doubt that the city’s reassurances of “fairness” will hold much water once the money starts rolling in, and the lure of easy money further clouds their judgment. I would love to have Bellingham prove me wrong, but I doubt they will.

One reason that I am pretty sure that Bellingham won’t be “fair” in the issuing of tickets is because it is common for American Traffic Solutions’ contracts to state that if the city/police reject over 10% of the tickets that the camera company forwards them, it will cost the city a lot of money. That is a pretty good incentive to “create” dangerous drivers.

You can read the entire article from the Bellingham Herald here: http://blogs.bellinghamherald.com/traffic/?p=6044

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