Los Angeles ends red light cam ticketing program

Los Angeles - one of more than 500 cities that have red light cameras - has decided to pull the plug.

As CBS News National Correspondent Ben Tracy reported, Los Angeles' system managed to be unpopular and a money-loser at the same time.

Los Angeles has 32 red light cameras at various intersections around the city. Since 2004, they have caught 180,000 drivers breaking the law. Yet only about 60 percent of them ever paid the whopping $500 tickets. The city was reportedly losing $1.5 million a year on the program, according to the City of Los Angeles' information.

So on Wednesday, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously voted to turn off the red light cameras.

Eric Garcetti, president of the Los Angeles City Council, said, "We want safe intersections, but there's not any data that proves this was making these intersections any safer."

At least 32 cities nationwide have turned on red light cameras only to switch them back off either because of court orders, collection issues, or data showing they don't improve safety.

Jay Beeber, who opposes the red light cameras, told CBS News, "That's what's really important here - that the people of LA will be safer because of the end of this program."

Adding to the outrage among Los Angeles drivers is this week's revelation that paying the camera fines has always essentially been voluntary because the city couldn't figure out if they were legally enforceable.

Like most folks in Los Angeles, Abigail Stone spends a lot of time in her car. So it was only a matter of time before she got caught by the eye in the sky.

"When I started going through it, I swear it was green because I wouldn't have gone through it and all the sudden (it just went) 'boop'" Stone said.

Now Stone says she wants her money back.

She said, "Why did I pay this ticket? Why was I being such a good citizen throughout the whole thing? Why didn't I just ignore it? Who do I have to call to a refund on this?"

The Los Angeles camera program officially ends on Sunday.

For more on the legal side of red light cameras, "The Early Show" turned to CBS News Legal Analyst Jack Ford.