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Red Light Runners

photograph from Going Places story

(before 2003)

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The San Francisco Department of Traffic is putting cameras at street corners. The cameras take pictures of cars running red lights. One camera shows 80 to 100 of them a day.

Running red lights is a big problem in San Francisco. A policeman says he could write tickets all day just for that. Running red lights causes about 1000 accidents a year.

The cameras show drivers not looking. They read maps. They talk on cell phones. They look at buildings.

The cameras sometimes show cars crashing. The drivers look surprised. Sometimes they look angry. One driver says he has never seen a stoplight change so quickly.

The red light cameras seem to be working. Drivers caught running red lights get tickets. There are 40% fewer red light runners at the intersections with cameras. The city has ordered 20 more cameras.

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