Poway goes high tech to stop red light runners

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POWAY, Calif. — Poway is one of many cities in San Diego County that recently turned off their red light camera ticket program, but they’re now adopting a new device that aims to do the same thing: stop would be red light runners in action.

City Councilman Jim Cunningham, says the city’s main priority is public safety and making sure intersections are safe.

“We still have to do everything we can to protect people while going through test process,” he said.

The device is called the Rat Box, because it’s shape kind of looks like it has a tail. The tiny low-tech and low-cost device is mounted and wired into the back of the of traffic signal .  When the light turns red for the driver, the light on the back turns blue, so an officer stationed down the road will know when it turned red.

“It allows an officer who’s visually looking to tell when the light is red from all angles,” said Cunningham.

Developed by engineers in Silicon Valley, it only costs about  $100 compared to about $150,000 for the red light cameras.  In cities where the device was tested, it lowered the number of crashes by 40%.

Safety aside, most people we talked to said they are not happy about the new Rat Box and question how a traffic officer will be able to tell who ran the red light if more than one car goes through the intersection.

“I think it’s wrong. It’s deceitful and it’s wrong,” said one driver.

“If the first guy actually didn’t run the red light, but another guy came through right behind him, who’s going to get the ticket?” another driver asked.

We’ll find out when the program will officially starts next week on May 29t.