SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Earlier this week, Citrus Heights Police posted a video on Facebook showing multiple drivers running various red lights around the area. The police department's message was, of course, to slow down and stop when the light turns red — but also to show that red light cameras are working to keep us safe.
That got some people debating. Jeanatte tweeted saying "I believe the city of Sacramento using red light cameras is not legal." Shy replied saying "Red light cameras are legal, speed cameras are not."
So, are red light cameras legal in Sacramento? Let's verify.
What court records say: You might wonder why we're looking at court records. Well, when we're talking about red light cameras, it's important to first understand that there actually is a big debate about them nationally. Some people have claimed they violate our constitutional rights to equal protection and due process under the 14th amendment. This was actually taken up in court, and that's what brings us to this: a 2009 ruling by the 7th circuit court of appeals. The ruling said "No one has a fundamental right to run a red light or avoid being seen by a camera on a public street." In brief, red light cameras don't violate your right to privacy.
That said, each state still has different laws and not every one has these cameras. So, what about California?
What California vehicle code says: According to California Vehicle Code 21455.5, an intersection where a driver is required to stop may be equipped with an automated traffic enforcement system, so long as the government agency utilizing the system meets certain requirements — specifically that a law enforcement agency works with a government agency to monitor the cameras.
What the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department says: According to Sacramento County Sheriff's Department, which oversees Sacramento's cameras, "Peace officers specially trained in red light photo enforcement, review violation data including photographs, video and registration data of red light runners prior to issuing citations."
Verify: Knowing all that, we can verify that yes, red light cameras are in fact legal in Sacramento (But remember, you have the right to fight any ticket you might get).
Continue the conversation with Liz Kreutz on Facebook.
In California, more than 1,000 new rules went into effect this year. But does one of them include a $999 fine and 3-year suspended license for driving with your cell phone? When we saw a Facebook post being shared hundreds of times that made this claim, it was time to hit the brakes -- and verify.