Police ‘zero’ in on red lights

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Demopolis residents – and even motorists who are just passing through – better pay attention to the color of the city’s traffic lights for a while.

Responding to citizens’ reports

that numerous drivers were either ignoring red lights or pushing their luck too far on yellow, the Demopolis Police Department has begun a ‘zero tolerance policy’ aimed at red-light runners.

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“Zero tolerance means that if we see you running a red light, we’re going to go after you,” Demopolis Director of Public Safety Jeff Manuel said.

Manuel couldn’t give a number of citations that

have been issued since he announced the policy at Thursday’s meeting of the Demopolis City Council, and he said “the numbers aren’t really that important to me.”

“Reducing the problem is what’s important to me,” he said.

Many of the offenders, Manuel noted, were not necessarily Demopolis citizens.

“We have a lot of truck drivers running lights on (U.S. Highway) 80,” he said. “Due to their speed, and how long it takes them to build it up, they want to come through town as quickly as possible. They try to reduce the number of times they have to stop the forward progress.”

Manuel said officers had reported writing tickets for three different truck drivers who worked for the same company. When the drivers of transfer trucks run a light, he said, “it creates a bigger problem for us.”

“It’s extra dangerous when they’re involved in an accident, because they could be carrying hazardous materials,” Manuel said.

Though Manuel said he has considered monitoring intersections with video cameras, it “will not be used for enforcement purposes.”