Those new digital cameras going in all over Berkeley are being turned on this Friday, May 27. For the first 30 days, the city will send out warning letters. After that, red-light runners can expect to receive minimum $331 penalties in the mail.
These cameras are not perfect, and it'll be interesting to see how long it takes for the first court challenge to occur -- either on the accuracy of the cameras, or (especially in Berkeley) on privacy grounds (this is a town where putting RFID chips in library books has ignited a firestorm). There are also lots of email spammers out there offering to sell folks something to put over their motor vehicle's license plates to thwart cameras from getting a clear image of the plate.
Is public safety worth it? I think so. It might also keep intersections clearer and thus facilitate the movement of buses around town. We'll see.