City of Medford says photo enforcement cameras have decreased crashes

MEDFORD, Ore. – It’s been 20 years since Medford first installed photo enforcement cameras at intersections.

The city is showing how it said the program has decreased crashes in the last decade.

Medford Police Department said the photo enforcement program has resulted in safer intersections.

However, a recent court case involving a red light ticket has led to a change at yellow lights.

There are four intersections you can find these photo enforcement cameras for both red light and speed violations.

They are located at Barnett and Stewart, Biddle and McAndrews, Central Avenue and Fourth street and Riverside and Eighth Street.

The program has been around for 20 years and it’s been effective, according to the MPD.

“It’s been extremely important to us,” Deputy Chief Trevor Arnold said. “The goal of the program is to improve traffic safety, right? Reduce traffic crashes at dangerous interactions that have been historically high level crash interactions.”

In the last decade, MPD said crashes have decreased by 19% at the photo enforced intersections.

However, local resident Glenn Gumaer, who received a red light ticket at the intersection of Stewart and Barnett, believes the yellow light timing was too short, leading to his ticket.

Gumaer argued in court that the length of the yellow light was not legal as it was only 3.5 seconds.

MPD did make changes to three yellow light timings, increasing them from 3.5 seconds to 5.1 seconds. But Deputy Chief Arnold insists the previous times were legal.

“Those were all examined by our traffic engineer after this case was brought up, examined, re-evaluated and determined that while we were compliance with the law, at our fairness, it made more sense to adjust the light timing on three of those approaches,” he said.

Deputy Chief Arnold said this case shows the misconception some people have about yellow lights in Oregon.

“A lot of people think yellow means hurry up, go faster and speed through this intersection, but that’s not what the law is in Oregon,” he said. “When you’re approaching an interaction, and you have a solid yellow light, you’re suppose to stop. If you can safely do so, you’re supposed to come to a complete stop before your enter that intersection.”

In 2021, an average of over 1.3 million vehicles each month passed through photo enforced intersections.

Of those vehicles, an average of 1,100 citations were issued each month.

“It’s about traffic safety, it’s not about writing tickets,” Deputy Chief Arnold said. “I would be perfectly fine is the program worked and everyone obeyed the allows at those intersections and it generated zero tickets.”

According to MPD, the city dropped charges against Gumaer after he was found guilty in Medford Municipal Court and appealed.

The city says money generated from the photo enforcement program gets distributed to the vendor who provides the cameras, law enforcement and the city.

NBC5 News reporter Zachary Larsen grew up in Surprise, Arizona. He graduated from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. At ASU, Zack interned at Arizona Sports 98.7FM and Softball America. During his Junior year, Zack joined the ASU Sports Bureau. He covered the Fiesta Bowl, the Phoenix Open and major basketball tournaments. Zack enjoys working out, creative writing, music, and rooting for his ASU Sun Devils.
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