No tolerance for red light runners in October

Sheriff's office sets policy in response to crashes

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Douglas County drivers who are seen running a red light during the month of October will automatically receive a $111 ticket and a violation on their driver's license.

This is the first year the Douglas County Sheriff's Office has implemented the month-long policy, said a spokesperson from the office.

“We have seen an increase nationally in traffic fatalities as the result of violators running red lights,” spokesperson Cocha Heyden said in an email.

The agency also began the policy as a response to complaints from citizens about aggressive driving, speeding and red-light violations.

“We have seen these violations in so many Douglas County intersections and the violations are not even subtle,” said a statement from Steve Johnson, the sheriff's office's chief deputy for law enforcement.

Zero tolerance means that if a deputy stops a car for a red-light violation, the driver will automatically receive a citation stating “failed to obey traffic control signal,” Heyden said.

“Normally, the deputy has the discretion to issue a citation or give a verbal warning,” she said.

For yellow lights, as long as the driver has passed the stop line while the light is still yellow, they aren't likely to be cited, she said.

“The issue comes up when the driver sees the light turn yellow and then speeds up to try to make it and ends up running the red,” she said. “They are so focused on beating the light they do not pay attention to anything else around them (like) other drivers, pedestrians or cyclists.”

The citation will include a four-point violation on the person's driver's license. If a driver gets enough points, their license can be suspended or revoked, Heyden said.

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