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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                   
May 31, 2012

For More Information, Contact:
Lisa Gardiner (916) 651-4011 .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Phil Yost (650) 688-6834 .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


SACRAMENTO – A bill to protect the rights of drivers by regulating red-light cameras passed unanimously today in the State Senate. The vote was 37-0. Senate Bill 1303, by State Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto), would establish statewide standards for the installation and operation of traffic enforcement cameras, and make it easier to challenge unjustified tickets.

“This bill is designed to establish some ground rules around the use of red-light cameras, and make sure that drivers’ rights are protected,” Simitian said. “We want to be sure that if drivers get a ticket that they shouldn’t have, they have a way to contest the ticket that’s relatively quick and convenient.”

The cameras have been a subject of debate in cities around the state, as drivers have questioned their accuracy. Simitian often hears about concerns about red-light cameras from his constituents.

“I don’t oppose red-light cameras per se,” said Simitian. “But I believe that traffic tickets should only be issued to improve public safety, not to raise revenue.”

Senate Bill 1303 protects drivers’ rights by:
  • Requiring that camera locations be chosen because of safety considerations, and not on their potential to generate revenue;
  • Requiring cities and counties to follow state standards in the placement and operation of cameras;
  • Requiring adequate signs to notify drivers when red-light cameras are in use;
  • Prohibiting so called “snitch tickets” (i.e., an innocent ticket recipient may not be required to identify another driver in order to clear an inaccurate ticket); and
  • Making it easier for a wrongfully ticketed driver to get a ticket cleared.

This legislation is a reintroduction of previous Simitian legislation. Last year’s version of the bill, SB 29, was vetoed by Governor Jerry Brown. Brown stated in his veto message that establishing standardized rules for red-light cameras “can and should be overseen by local elected officials.”

The idea for the bill originated in his annual “There Oughta Be a Law” contest. San Jose resident Vera Gil suggested the legislation after receiving multiple tickets from red-light cameras for a car in Southern California that she does not own and never has driven.

Based on the difficulty she experienced challenging the tickets, Gil proposed a law requiring improved policies and procedures for red-light camera citations.

For more about SB 1303, visit