Monday, August 25, 2008

Red light cameras come to Federal Way


FEDERAL WAY, Wash. - A crackdown on red light runners begins this morning in Federal Way.

The city's new red light camera program aims to cut down on red light accidents at two of the city's busiest intersections: 320th and Pacific Hwy South and 348th and Enchanted Parkway.

"The risk is so great people are injured in such a staggering number across the country that we want people to know primarily that you're not going to get away with it anymore when you run the red light," said Stan McCall, Federal Way Police.

The casualties are not something to ignore. Statistics show that more than 800 people die each year due to red light runners, another 175,000 are injured nationwide, according to the National Campaign to Stop Red Light Running.

"Our officers can't be 24 hours a day in every single location," said Jeanne Burbidge, Federal Way City Councilmember.

None of the statistics take into account property damage, medical treatment and productivity losses.

Now Federal Way follows more than a dozen Puget Sound communities by placing cameras at South 320th Street at Pacific Highway South and South 348th Street at Enchanted Parkway.

"I see people all the time going through at the last second and, you know, that's when accidents happen," said Federal Way driver, Kay Jones.

Gary Poelstra, visiting Federal Way, got a ticket in the past.

"I'm telling you it made me far more alert from then on," he said.

The fine is $124, but Monday marks the beginning of a 30-day grace period, which runs through Sept.24. Starting Sept. 25, registered owners of the vehicles will get the actual ticket, which includes a photograph of their license plate and an online link to a video of their car going through the light.

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