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Motorist Discovered Traffic Light Was Too Short

June 17, 2004|Arlene Martinez | Times Staff Writer

Calls continue to trickle in from motorists who may have received one of the 579 traffic citations erroneously issued last fall and winter, Costa Mesa police said.

The tickets, issued between October and February for drivers headed north on Newport Boulevard at 17th Street, are being dismissed because the yellow light was set seven-tenths of a second too short. The intersection near Triangle Square uses cameras to cite red-light violators.

The mistake was discovered in February, but police did not announce it until last week while the city determined what action to take and investigate why the error occurred, said Sgt. Dave Andersen.

Andersen said a motorist who received one of the tickets discovered the too-short light. The yellow phase, set at 3.6 seconds, by law should have been 4.3 seconds long because the speed limit there is 45 mph.

Traffic headed south through the same intersection has a 35-mph speed limit, which may have contributed to the incorrect setting northbound, Andersen said.

People who received the citations will be contacted in the coming weeks by mail, police said. Those who paid the $326 fine will receive a refund.

For more information, call the Costa Mesa Police Department's Traffic Safety Bureau at (714) 754-5263.

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