Pasco approves photo enforcement traffic cameras
Warnings have been arriving in mailboxes for a few weeks. Now, it’s time to pay the piper.
Pasco expects to begin mailing $125 tickets to owners of vehicles recorded running red lights at two busy intersections as early as Thursday.
It’s been a month since the new devices were turned on.
As of Monday, the city had sent 175 warnings to the owners of vehicles photographed going through red lights. Another 418 images are still being reviewed.
Those warnings will switch to costly citations as soon as the Office of the Administration of the Courts gives final approval, said Pasco Police Capt. Jeff Harpster.
Harpster expected the paperwork to wrap up on Wednesday.
He said the number of violators so far is about what the city expected after studying the best way to cut down on intersection crashes.
“Those numbers will probably go down once people start getting tickets in the mail,” Harpster said.
Arizona-based Redflex Traffic Systems installed the new gear in April.
Here’s what drivers need to know about the first red light cameras installed in the Tri-Cities:
Where? Road 68 and Burden Boulevard, and North 20th and Court. Both busy intersections have higher-than-average accident rates and the problems are worsening with population growth.
Why? The crash rate for 20th and Court is 2.86 per million vehicles. For Road 68 and Burden, it is 1.2 million. One or less is considered acceptable. Pasco wants to cut down on T-bone crashes, which injure and kill. Spokane experienced a 51 percent drop in T-bone wrecks after it installed red light cameras.
What? The 2005 Legislature legalized red light cameras as a public safety tool. Pasco joins about two dozen cities, from Seattle to Spokane. The rear part of car entering an intersection on a red light is recorded. Now-retired Pasco Police Chief Bob Metzger recommended the cameras to the Pasco City Council in 2018. The council signed off last August.
Who? A Pasco police officer will review images before a ticket is issued. Tickets will be mailed to the vehicle’s owner. They can be contested in Pasco Municipal Court.
How will a ticket affect my driving record? It shouldn’t, said Andrew Huff, a Seattle attorney who explained Washington’s red light camera law in a 2017 post at ahuff.law.com. This week, Huff confirmed the rules have not changed.