Red light cameras: Where does the money go?
Red light cameras went live in Norfolk on Friday. Running through one will cost you $50, but where will the money go?
The program in Norfolk is going to be identical to the one running in Virginia Beach.
Approximately 30,000 people in Virginia Beach have failed to pay their tickets for running red lights at one of the 13 intersections guarded by the cameras.
“It needs to be collected,” says Virginia Beach Treasurer John Atkinson.
To help police collect the money, they contacted Atkinson a year and a half ago. They want red light offenders to know they mean business.
“They do need to pay it or we will take additional collection action that may include putting a lien against your paycheck, debiting the money directly from your bank account, we could seek a judgment in General District Court to sell your car. Generally speaking, we let people know that we mean business,” Atkinson says.
Since the red light camera or Photo Safe program started in Virginia Beach, almost $7.5 million has been collected. But if you add in the unpaid tickets out there today, $1.5 million more is owed right now.
That money could be added to Virginia Beach`s General Fund.
“It helps the taxpayer keep their taxes low,” Atkinson says.
And besides the money, police also say it keeps the roadways safe.
“The data shows that the accidents don`t actually decrease, they are pretty much the same — but the severity of the accidents have changed greatly. We don`t have the large accidents with injuries we once had at these intersections,” says Virginia Beach Photo Safe coordinator Officer Rick Esposito.
Officer Esposito is over the Photo Safe program in Virginia Beach and he says these cameras are definitely making people slow down.
The number of tickets issued went down from 2010 to 2012. The treasurer says it’s important to pay your original $50 fine or you could later also be paying $30 in administrative fees.