At a time when local cities are struggling to make ends meet, a new law could take money out of the pockets of local municipalities.
Legislators in Sacramento recently passed AB909 which reduces the base fee for running a red light while making a right-hand turn from $100 to $35. Legislators say they are correcting an error in a bill from 1997. They say running a red light on a right-hand turn isn’t as dangerous as running a red while taking a left or going straight.
Just months ago, Michael McAreavy got a ticket for not stopping completely at a red light before making a right-hand turn. He was fined $350. Statewide, a red-light right-hand turn ticket costs around $450.
The new fee would be reduce that almost in half. Cities typically get 30 percent of the ticket fine, which means this new bill will take money away from cash-strapped cities.
Bicyclist are also concerned with the new bill. They say it gives the impression that right turns aren’t dangerous.
David Perkins of Cathedral City says, “I think it’s a bad idea; everyone needs to look out for everyone. You should take a second and make sure you make it through the intersection safe.”
The Coachella Valley has three red-light cameras, all located in Cathedral City. Out of 9,600 tickets issued, 6,300 were for right-hand turns.
The bill will now go to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. It’s unclear whether or not he’ll sign it into law because it will dramatically affect local revenue for cash-strapped cities across California.