Many Fairfax County motorists are not seeing red. And Fairfax County police say that's the problem.
Since the April 1 start of a campaign to ticket red light violators, county police have been writing more than 400 tickets a week, three times the usual number.
Despite success in ticket terms, the "Respect Red" campaign doesn't seem to be earning much respect from county residents. During the last 15 days of April, county police cited 751 drivers for red light violations. Police previously announced that 898 motorists had been ticketed during the first 15 days of April.
"We are, frankly, surprised and disappointed that it remained at that level," said police spokesman Warren Carmichael. "We had hoped there would be sufficient impact to discourage red light violations."
"Unfortunately, that has not appeared to be the case," he said, "so the campaign will continue."
Fairfax is one of a handful of local jurisdictions, including the District and Arlington, that recently began highly publicized crackdowns on drivers who fail to stop on red.
Police said that red-light running is a regular source of complaints from area residents, and the stepped-up enforcement has been endorsed by the Washington Council of Governments.
In Fairfax, the worst intersection for such violations is Reston Avenue and Baron Cameron Avenue, where 100 tickets were written in April.
Carmichael said the department has not received any complaints about the crackdown, although each violation carries a $35 fine. "There's been absolutely no adverse reaction," he said. "But we have received a number of calls and letters praising the effort."