The California Assembly's Appropriations Committee on Monday amended Senate Bill 1303, dropping pro-motorist provisions on behalf of red light camera companies and local municipalities. State Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) initially proposed the legislation at the suggestion of a constituent to make the existing photo enforcement statute more motorist friendly. Internal documents show Redflex Traffic Systems, an Australian red light camera vendor, not a constituent, is behind the legislation's latest iteration.
The first drafts of Simitian's bill would have modified the rules for posting signs at camera intersections and would have standardized the form for "snitch tickets" which are issued to vehicle drivers when the red light camera photos do not clearly show the driver's face. Redflex and other vendors send out official-looking notices in the hopes of tricking drivers into thinking they have no choice but to pay the $500 fine, even though California law states that tickets may only be issued to a clearly identified driver. Simitian proposed adding a "none of the above" checkbox to the courtesy notice to make it clear drivers are under no legal obligation to respond to the notice or pay the citation. Simitian's recent changes dropped the checkbox and added language changing the California rules of evidence so that red light cameras would be safe from legal challenge under hearsay rules. These modifications were not made on behalf of any constituent, but to protect Redflex from a pending California Supreme Court case.