Most drivers fear the dreaded ‘red light’ cameras, and for good reason. These seemingly ubiquitous devices record any driver who crosses through an intersection even a fraction of a second too late (after the lights change) and provide irrefutable proof of the infraction to the police automatically, resulting in a citation issued against the driver.

Many cities contract with outside firms to install and monitor these cameras, in exchange for a share of the additional revenue they generate. This has some communities hopping mad at what they see as an obvious attempt to collect more money as opposed to an honest effort to increase public safety.

In response to these complaints, by defensive drivers too, the city of Glendale, California, has decided to get rid of their ‘red light’ cameras.

Four years ago the city contracted with Redflex Traffic Systems of Australia to install red light cameras at the intersections for a share of the revenue. During the intervening years Redflex Traffic Systems collected millions in revenue, passing along the fair share to city and state officials, but Glendale say what they earned didn’t even equal their costs.

For instance, last year Redflex mailed 5857 tickets worth $2,811,360. Minus expenses and its $32,000 monthly payment to Redflex, Glendale officials say they have nothing left to show for their trouble. So, they told Redflex to cancel the program last February 24.

This is a win for drivers who see the cameras as nothing more than a revenue generator for their communities, and apparently not a very good revenue generator at that. It is also a win for privacy advocates who say the red light cameras invade their privacy and violate their civil liberties.

Regardless of what you might think of the cameras themselves the fact is that their only purpose is to catch people who run red lights and turn them in to police. But they must be able to do this for a cost which makes sense to the city. If they lose money on the proposition there is no point in continuing an unpopular program.