Four months later, did city waste green on red light cameras?

Posted at 7:30 PM, May 07, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-08 08:32:05-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)— Last January, the City of Richmond installed several red light cameras as a way to stop violators in their tracks; but the cameras don't work.

"It would definitely keep people from running the red light because nobody wants to get a ticket,” said driver Donnel McNair.

But within an hour, at the intersection of Hull Street and Elkhardt Road, our camera spotted several drivers flying right through the red light.

City officials say these cameras are not actively working in South Richmond - four months and four-million dollars after they were installed.

"You pay money for them and not using them, what's the purpose?” said Victor Haygood.  “I think it’s a waste of money, if we’re not using them.”

We wanted to know why the cameras aren't working, and when will they be operational?

We reached out to Richmond police to get some answers; they sent us to City Hall.  A  city spokesperson sent us a statement.

Spokesperson Michael Wallace wouldn't go on camera, but released this statement to CBS 6: "the City is working with an abundance of caution in not moving forward with the Red Light camera contract implementation until we have completed our own internal review.”

CBS 6 learned Redflex Traffic System, Inc., the company contracted to run the red light cameras, is at the center of a bribery scandal tied to payoffs of an official in Chicago.

Back at Hull Street and Elkhardt roads, drivers wonder if the cameras will ever be functional, because they think something needs to be done.

"Yeah, because you got to be careful.  You got to drive for the other person.  You got to be careful,” said Haygood.

Wallace could not tell us when those red light cameras would be operational or comment on whether or not the ongoing federal investigation with Redflex Traffic Systems, Inc. would impact the city’s current contract.

According to AAA Mid-Atlantic, in 2011, 714 people were killed and an estimated 118,000 were injured in crashes that involved red-light running.

Some localities using those cameras reported seeing up to a 50 percent drop in red light runners and up to a 30 percent reduction in fatal crashes.