The Colorado Springs City Council earlier this year made the decision to implement cameras at stop lights across the city. They placed the cameras in various locations and did a study to see how effective it would be. The cameras have been constructed at four of the most dangerous intersections in Colorado Springs. They take both still pictures and 12 seconds of video. Pictures of the driver and the vehicle license are taken. The study was named “Focus On Safety Photo Enforcement Program.”
The intersections chosen for this program are: Northbound Nevada at Bijou, Eastbound Barnes at Oro Blanco Dr., Westbound Platte Ave at Murray Blvd and Westbound Platte Ave at Circle Drive. As you can see, these are only in one direction.
The program was put in place and began operating on September 16, 2010. For the first 30 days, all violators were sent warning tickets. They are put on notice that this program is up and working and to be aware the next time you are going through one of these intersections. On October 16th the Focus On Safety Photo Enforcement Program went into full operation. From that date on, if you run the light, you will receive a ticket in the mail. If you are driving a company vehicle, your employer will receive a ticket in the mail, which won’t reflect well on you job.
This move by Colorado Springs should reduce a substantial amount of actual human monitoring time by the Colorado Springs Police Dept. Instead of two or more officers sitting for hours at the stop lights, trying to catch people, it will only require a single officer to sit in an office and review footage, then issue tickets. More of an administrative position rather than utilizing an actual beat officer. This should save lots of money for the city, though the initial expense of buying and installing the cameras was substantial. The thousands of dollars spent to install the cameras will eventually pay for itself, according to proponents of the action.
Not only will money be made through the ticketing program and the reduction in staff for these particular jobs, but the cost that is saved through the actual lack of accidents, will cover the programs expense. Just that aspect of the program is far reaching and should prove to save huge amounts of money. If there are not as many accidents, there are not officers or paramedics on the scene. Valuable personnel and time are saved for more important duties throughout the city. Colorado Springs should be operating back at full throttle with the money that will be made and the savings they are anticipating. Maybe we will get many of the services back that have been sliced off of the budget.
The Focus On Safety Photo Enforcement Program in Colorado Springs is patterned after many other programs across Colorado and other parts of the country. Aurora, Colorado takes in approx $2 million a year on the traffic light ticket program. Denver is anticipating $1.5 million on 4 intersections for this year.
Phoenix, AZ, Los Angeles and many more cities are opting for using this type of enforcement program, mainly because it makes big money. Secondly, it has been proven to reduce accidents and purposeful violations. With the economy in the situation we are in, this can only make perfect sense to any city.
Opponents continue to shout violations of privacy and freedom issues, but most people have just come to accept the fact that this is going to become the norm. I guess the point here, for those people would be, stop running lights. We all know of course, yellow means stop. It doesn’t mean you can scoot through, anyway. Photo enforcement is going full steam in Colorado Springs. If you travel through this various intersections as much as I do everyday, it would be well advised to take notice of these particular intersections and obey the rules of the road. The camera never misses your mistakes, so following the rules only makes sense for everyone.