SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Red light cameras are supposed to be an effective tool in reducing the number of car crashes, but all of Sacramento's cameras have been turned off for months.
The curbside cameras have been snapping red-light runners in Sacramento for nearly 20 years, and officers credit them as a big help in preventing car crashes.
"There has been a huge reduction, and those enforcements are put in some of the busiest intersections that have seen the most accidents and fatalities," said Sacramento County Sheriff's Deputy Rob Grassmann.
Twenty-five cameras are installed across Sacramento County, and on average they catch more than 16,000 violators each year. But drivers across the county have not been aware of — the red light cameras have been turned off since January.
"We are not advertising that," Grassmann said.
Grassmann said not a single redlight runner has been caught on camera this year.
"They have, in essence, got a free pass," Grassmann said.
The county's contract with Redflex, the previous camera operator, ended last December, and a new company Conduent won a competitive bidding process.
They were supposed to have new cameras installed by March, but Sacramento County officials say Conduent repeatedly missed deadlines, and now county officials want to void the contract.
Neil Franz, a Conduent spokesperson tells CBS13, "We strongly disagree with this decision and communicated our viewpoint to the county. We met our obligations and do not believe there is a basis for voiding the contract."
"If the public finds out about it, you could see a difference maybe," said driver Melvin Cruz.
Drivers like Cruz say they're still going to stop.
"I still look out for the cameras and the signs, either way, either way, so I don't know if it's working or not," Cruz said.
Negotiations are underway to hire a new redlight camera operator, but until then, deputies hope these cameras and signs will still provide a deterrent.
"When they see that red light sign, they stop and that's the whole idea," Grassmann said.
Sacramento officials say no money is being lost since running the photo enforcement program typically costs more than the revenue generated by ticket fines.
for more features.