By: OC Supervisor Todd Spitzer
Red light cameras are on their way to being banned in Orange County. This week, an ordinance was introduced by Chairman Shawn Nelson and Denis Bilodeau, who authored a similar ban in the City of Orange, to prohibit the placement and use of red light cameras in unincorporated areas of the county.
Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens had no objection to the ban, which the board approved on first reading. Final approval of the ordinance is expected on Oct. 21. The ban passed prevents Midway City, Ladera Ranch, Rossmoor, North Tustin and other communities from installing the controversial cameras.
It also eliminates the sole red light camera in an unincorporated area in Orange County located on the corner of Tustin Avenue and 17th Street adjacent to Santa Ana. The City of Santa Ana owns the camera and controls its revenue but has a permit to operate it on county land. The Santa Ana City Council voted earlier this year to end its red light camera program by June 2015.
In the Third District, Anaheim voters banned red light cameras by a 73%-27% vote in 2010. The Orange City Council passed a similar ban in 2011 and the Irvine City Council tried cameras in the early 2000s but removed them.
A number of studies have shown that instead of reducing car crashes as intended, most red light cameras increase car crashes.
After voting to support the ban, Supervisor Todd Spitzer said he would like county officials to have a much wider discussion on the use of surveillance cameras, such as ones worn by police officers. “This is going to be a big issue for society about how much information we’ll gather on people,” Spitzer said during the meeting. “In some ways it’s a real intrusion in private lives.”