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Don't play chicken with the red-light cameras

I am hoping you good people at Since You Asked Central can answer a question about Medford’s red-light cameras. I know if I drive into an intersection after the light turns red I’ll get my picture taken. But what if “most” or even “some” of my truck gets into the intersection just before the light turns red. Is that going to get my picture taken? I know I’ve been close, including this weekend, to getting a ticket. But how close really am I?

— Catherine, Medford

Well, Catherine, we here at the Since You Asked traffic desk regularly run interference for leadfoots like yourself who want to see just how close they can get to the edge without getting caught by the red-light cameras stationed around Medford.

We posed your query to Medford police Sgt. Trevor Arnold, who was pretty blunt about the rule.

“If you enter the intersection after the light turns red, it’ll capture the violation,” Arnold says.

If your entire vehicle is in the intersection when the light turns red, that’s a violation, and you can get a ticket from an officer who spots it, Arnold says. However, the cameras aren’t programed to photograph vehicles in that fashion.

As for having just the front third of your truck in the intersection, is that a violation?

“For me, yes,” Arnold says. “But I can’t answer what the camera will do for sure.”

The better answer, Catherine, is don’t consider the yellow light an invitation for anything but the brake pedal.

“My suggestion is, don’t run red lights,” Arnold says.

If you don’t heed Arnold’s suggestion, Catherine, may we suggest changing your driving patterns.

Medford police have four red-light cameras operating in the city. One is watching southbound traffic at Central Avenue and Fourth Street, and another is monitoring northbound traffic at Riverside Avenue and Eighth Street.

Also, there are cameras installed at the intersection of Biddle and East McAndrews roads for eastbound and northbound traffic, and at East Stewart Avenue and Barnett Road for westbound traffic.

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@rosebudmedia.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.