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June 1, 2010

For More Information, Contact:
Phil Yost (650) 688-6384


SACRAMENTO – Today the State Senate passed Senate Bill 1362, by State Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto), to protect drivers by regulating the use of “red light” cameras.

SB 1362 establishes statewide standards for the installation and operation of traffic enforcement cameras. The bill requires that cameras may only be placed where a history of collisions justifies them; that signs be posted wherever red light cameras are installed; and that unjustified tickets can be easily and effectively challenged by motorists.

Simitian notes that while he doesn’t oppose red light cameras per se, “they raise issues of accuracy, privacy and due process.” And, says Simitian, “I firmly believe that traffic tickets should only be issued to improve public safety, not to raise revenue.”

SB 1362 was proposed in Simitian’s annual “There Oughta Be a Law” contest. San Jose resident Vera Gil suggested the legislation after receiving three tickets from red light cameras for a car in Southern California she doesn’t own and has never driven.

Based on her experience challenging the tickets, Gil proposed a law requiring improved policies and procedures for “red light camera” citations.

“I was frustrated,” said Gil. “Their license plate is one letter different than mine. It’s a mistake I expect to happen, but it took weeks and weeks to clear up. There was no information on who to talk to if you believed the ticket had been assigned to the wrong car. I think that the cameras are helpful, but it can be a real thorn in the side of the person who receives it accidentally.”

Simitian said he thinks Gil’s case is “just the tip of the iceberg.”  While Gil’s contest entry was the only one of its kind this year, Simitian says the subject has come up fairly frequently as he hears from constituents.

Since 2001, Simitian has invited Californians to submit suggestions for new legislation in his annual “There Oughta Be a Law” contest. To date, fifteen winning ideas have been signed into law.

SB 1362 now heads to the State Assembly for consideration. To learn more, visit