Cities Pulling the Plug on Red Light Cameras

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More than 500 cities across the country use red light cameras to help monitor busy intersections.

They're everywhere, catching violators who ignore red lights and blast through intersections, causing serious injuries and even death.

The process is simple. The camera captures the scene and records the license plate number. The hefty fine shows up in the mail box a few weeks later.

But dozens of cities are now dumping the programs because of collection issues and research data that shows the cameras don't actually make intersections any safer.

Los Angeles is the latest city to pull the plug on the cameras. Apparently paying the $500 ticket is voluntary. City officials are at a loss as to how to enforce the fines.

Only about 60 percent of the tickets are paid, which means Los Angeles is losing $1.5 million a year on the program.

This week, the city council voted to turn off the cameras.

Drivers who previously paid the fines were outraged to learn they weren't legally bound to pay after all.

"At the time, we were trying to be upstanding citizens," Ross Latimer said.

"Can I get refunds for the ones I already paid?" asked Angie Rios.

"If you paid the fine, you paid the fine. If you didn't pay the fine, you were pretty much able to get away with it," L.A. City Councilman Paul Koretz said.

The city said it will not issue any refunds for fines already paid.

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