AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREChargers go winless in AFC West with season-ending loss in Kansas CityOf course, the predicted 80 percent success rate for the cameras was probably too high given the limitations of the program. Glare, for starters, makes license plates unreadable 2 percent of the time. Plus, any time the driver of the car isn’t the registered owner, the LAPD can’t issue a citation. But the far bigger problem is the number of cars that have out-of-date registrations, or aren’t registered at all. And that points to the lack of serious leadership at all levels of government. Under state law, all cars must be registered, but in Los Angeles County, an estimated 25 percent are not. The reason, in no small part, is that to register a car, one needs insurance, and to get insurance, one needs a license. In L.A. we have many residents who can’t afford insurance, and many wealthier ones (like the city attorney’s wife) who simply neglect to get it. We also have an enormous population of illegal immigrants who can’t obtain licenses, and who thus take to our streets in uninsured and unregistered vehicles. Yet at the very time when unlicensed, uninsured cars drive up insurance rates for all and endanger lives, city leaders have pulled back from a policy of impounding their cars. In Washington, Congress has proved itself incapable of reforming the immigration system that fuels the problem. Ultimately, a significant part of what’s wrong with L.A.’s red-light program is the federal government’s failed immigration policies – as well as the state and the city’s inability to deal with them. Still, as City Councilman Tony C rdenas observes about the red-light camera program’s success rate: “Regardless if it’s at 60 percent or 80 percent, it’s a far cry from not having any police officer at the intersection.” Police credit the cameras with bringing traffic collisions down by 15 percent at 10 of the city’s most dangerous intersections. That’s a definite improvement, even if it’s less than what we could hope for, or what we were promised. But it’s nowhere near good enough.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! There are two complementary explanations for the unimpressive performance of the cameras that the city of Los Angeles has installed at key intersections to catch red-light runners. One is inflated expectations; the other is unserious political leadership. The $15 million system let four in 10 violators off the hook in 2006 because the drivers couldn’t be identified, according to the Los Angeles Daily News and Police Department records. That’s a far cry from the 70 percent to 80 percent success rate city leaders predicted. And every car that doesn’t get cited is lost revenue for city coffers and another reckless driver on the streets. As of April, unissued citations have cost the city at least $1.1 million.