TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - They are located at 32 intersections across Toledo, but WTOL 11 discovered Toledo's red light cameras are flashing even when some drivers come to a complete stop.
WTOL 11 camped out at the intersection of Byrne and Airport Highway in South Toledo April 12.
Our unofficial count found drivers appeared to come to a complete stop 5 out of the 7 times we saw the cameras flash over a two hour period.
One of those drivers was Ann Hall, who was driving southbound on Byrne and stopped at a red light before turning right onto westbound Airport Highway. She says she had no idea the red light camera flashed while she was still sitting at the intersection.
"I didn't see anything flash," Hall said. "I was concentrating to see when I got the turn light."
Hider Hilou says he, too, came to a complete stop before making a right turn at the intersection, but he was still ticketed. Hilou said he wonders how many other drivers have been affected.
"If you don't know you got it, then you'll get a citation a month later and have to go back all that way to recall if you got a ticket," Hilou said.
Toledo Police Lieutenant Jeff Sulewski says red light cameras are calibrated to capture cars that break the law, which states "vehicular traffic facing a steady red signal alone shall stop at a clearly marked stop line." Many drivers we saw passed that line before stopping, in some cases to get a better look at approaching traffic, though cameras didn't flash for each.
Sulewski says the Arizona-based company that operates the cameras, Redflex Traffic Systems, reviews all tickets before they're sent to the Toledo Police Department. A Toledo police officer then reviews video of the incidents before any ticket is sent to a driver.
"Before it can be issued, it has to be reviewed by a police officer, and we have the final say of whether or not it will be issued," Sulewski said. "If, prior to entering intersection, they make a complete stop then safely enter the intersection and make their turn, we're going to dismiss that; it's never going to be issued as a citation."
Ticketed drivers can also review video of the incident and file an appeal before a Toledo hearing officer. Instructions on how to contest the ticket will be printed on the citation.
To avoid setting off the camera, Sulewski suggests drivers stop at the white stop line, look at approaching traffic then ease up to the intersection before stopping and looking a second time. Then, make the turn.
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