City leaders on Monday night authorized the city manager to install up to 10 cameras at problem intersections in the city where drivers are known to run red lights.
Officials have not said where or when the new cameras will be installed. “Our goal here is to reduce driver behavior at the most troubled intersections,” said Manassas Police Chief Douglas Keen said.
It’s likely one of the cameras will go up at Route 28 and Liberia Avenue. It has the highest crash rate in the city, said Keen.
The city will partner with private firm Conduent, which will install the cameras, as well as process summonses for red-light runners. When Conduent sees a violation, it sends a photo of the vehicle to the city police for review.
If police, in fact, see a violation, Conduent then uses license plate information captured in the photo to mail the driver a fine of up to $50. That fine will not include court costs, according to city documents.
Councilman Ralph Smith asked if photos will capture the driver of the car. Keen assured him that only the vehicle will appear in the photos.
Councilwoman Theresa Coates-Ellis asked about how many violations there are. Keen said at least one intersection has seen 100 violations in a 24-hour period.
Councilman Mark Wolfe asked if the new cameras would encourage drivers to stop suddenly at red lights, potentially causing crashes. Keen said that’s less of a concern, and that he’s more focused on the potential of reducing the number of red-light violations by 50% as they saw in nearby Fairfax City.
Content will pay to have the photo red equipment installed in the city, taking the burden off taxpayers. Virginia only allows traffic cameras to cite red-light violations, and to be installed on school buses to take photos of vehicles that refuse to stop when the bus lights are red and stop signs are out.
Unlike in Maryland, cameras in Virginia cannot be used to monitor speeding. The cameras also cannot be used to nab uninsured drivers, according to city documents.
The city council passed the resolution to bring the cameras to the city 5-1, with Councilman Ian Lovejoy voting no.