Contract extension is approved for Red Light Cameras in Bakersfield

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -  

Red light cameras are here to stay.  Bakersfield city leaders voted to approve an extension on a contract that would keep the monitoring devices on for at least another year.

All, but one of the city council members voted to approve that contract.  It allows an Arizona-based company to continue monitoring several Bakersfield intersections.

Erin Stikes spends most of her days and nights driving around Bakersfield with her young daughters and is fully aware of those red light cameras.

"I can definitely tell you I’m watching for them because I know the price tag that comes along with getting caught in one is pretty hefty. I think they are kind of good because I watch more often when I’m going through the light," she said.

While most cities across the country are taking out red light cameras, Bakersfield city leaders have agreed to keep them installed, approving a contract extension with Redflex Traffic Systems.

"I think they work pretty well at Truxtun extension. I mean, I really do think it cuts down on people running red lights. I definitely think when you are popped with a $300 dollar fine you watch what you're going to do," she said.

The cameras were first installed back in 2003 and since then, Bakersfield Police say it’s seen a more than 50% decrease in broadside and rear-end crashes.  But some people see the cameras as a problem.

"I've seen cars slammed on their brakes because they don't want to get a ticket," said Sean O’Neill of Bakersfield.

O'Neill spent several hours a day holding a sign for work near one of the red light cameras and noticed a lot of accidents.

"We'd see cars coming through here all day long and a lot of times we see the light flashing when it was still yellow so, we don't know how reliable that camera system is," said O’Neill.

The cameras photograph traffic violations, but many drivers say offenders are getting away from paying their tickets. 

"There's a lot of people fighting them because you can easily look at the photos they take and you can't tell if it's a green light or yellow light and I’ve seen a lot of people fighting that just because of that," he said.

The city makes more than 70-thousand dollars a year through the red light program.  Bpd says in a time when the department is short staffed, the cameras help catch violators.

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Carlos is on Facebook at www.facebook.com/carloscorrea23abc

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