Fremont offers red-light traffic-ticket rebates

The City of Fremont announced it's offering rebates to red light traffic offenders. The city acknowledged it "inadvertently" reduced the yellow light time at two major intersections.

This week 672 motorists will get a letter notifying them about the rebate.

The city of Fremont is known for its red light traffic cameras that are installed along every major commuter route. The price for running a red light isn't cheap.

“I didn't realize the picture was taken,” said Sunny Advani of Fremont. “A month later I got a letter and a picture and I was shocked. It was $385.
Now the ticket is $490. Advani lives near the busy Mowry Avenue corridor and sees drivers run the red all the time.

“People are going to work they don't realize they have a camera here,” said Advani.

Now the city of Fremont is recognizing some of the tickets issued may have been unfair.

“It’s a challenging issue and there isn't a perfect solution,” said Hans Larsen, director of public works.

Larsen said from February to October of last year, the yellow time at the intersections at Mowry and Blacow and Mowry and Farwell were shortened from 4.7 seconds to four seconds to help improve traffic signal coordination and flow along the corridor. It’s a move that caught many drivers off guard causing a spike in tickets.

“We felt out of the interest of fairness rebating tickets to people who got tickets in the first couple of months was the fair thing to do,” said Larsen.

The city is now offering a $147 rebate - its share of the ticket. Legally, the minimum yellow time is 3.9 seconds.

“We apologize if we had made an adjustment,” said Larsen. “There isn't any recourse that we have to dismiss a ticket that was valid and legally issued.”

Still some drivers question the city's actions and why the change occurred without warning.

“I think it's ridiculous,” said Tyler Jensen of Fremont. “You can't change something like that without telling everybody. 4.7 seconds may not seem like a lot but what you get used to that it's almost a full second off.”

“I’m very nervous right now going through any intersection here with a red light camera,” said Navin Nooran of Fremont. “I'm trying my best to avoid it.”

Larsen said the city can't rebate the entire ticket since 70 percent of it goes to state and county programs which are out of the city's control.