Q: Can you reveal for us the intersections in Pierce County that have red-light cameras? And what happens if you are the owner of, but not behind the wheel of, a vehicle caught by such a camera going through a red light? Who gets the ticket? – James M., Parkland
A: It seems that the first part of this question would be easy to answer, but, alas and alack, it is not.
RCW 46.63.170, which authorizes the use of so-called “automated traffic safety cameras,” requires jurisdictions that employ them to “post an annual report” to their websites that details the cameras’ locations, the number of collisions reported there and the number of infractions issued.
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But through some wheedling and whining, we here at Traffic Q&A headquarters compiled what we think is a pretty decent list of Pierce County intersections monitored by red-light cameras.
Tacoma: North 26th and Pearl street; South 56th and South Oakes streets; South Tacoma Way and South 74th Street; Pacific Avenue and South 72nd Street; South Hosmer and 84th streets; South Tacoma Way and 74th Street; East 38th and McKinley Avenue.
Fife: Alexander Avenue and Pacific Highway East; Valley Avenue East and 70th Avenue East; Pacific Highway East and 54th Avenue East; and 54th Avenue East and 20th Street East.
Puyallup: River Road and North Meridian; 39th Avenue Southwest and Ninth Street Southwest; Ninth Street Southwest and state Route 512; South Meridian and 31st Avenue Southeast; River Road and Fourth Street Northwest; Valley Avenue and North Meridian.
Lakewood: Bridgeport Way Southwest and San Francisco Avenue Southwest; Steilacoom Boulevard and Phillips Road Southwest; state Route 512 and South Tacoma Way.
Now, this list might be incomplete, and it certainly does not include speed-monitoring cameras. There are lots more of those around, too, including one on East Bay Street in Tacoma that last year issued more than 14,000 (!) citations. It’s that sneaky one that catches you as you come barreling off River Road and into T-town.
As to your second question, James, as to who’s responsible, let us return to RCW 46.63.170.
“The registered owner of the vehicle is responsible for an infraction … unless the registered owner overcomes the presumption in RCW 46.63.075 …”
What does 46.63.075 say, you ask? It says this:
“This presumption may be overcome only if the registered owner states, under oath, in a written statement to the court or in testimony before the court that the vehicle involved was, at the time, stolen or in the care, custody, or control of some person other than the registered owner.”
Our reading: Registered owners are guilty unless they swear to a judge that they’re innocent.
By the way, the Pierce County red-light camera that issued the most infractions in 2015 appears to be 54th Avenue East and 20th Street East in Fife with more than 9,200.