Traffic Issues and Parking Tickets

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Q. How can I contest a parking ticket?
If you received a parking citation which you feel was unjustified or because of circumstances beyond your control, you are encouraged to contact the Police Department's Watch Commander on the day you received the citation.  Otherwise, follow the procedures below. You may explain the circumstances to the Sergeant, who in turn, will decide the appropriate course of action. The Watch Commander may be contacted at (650) 802-4268

To contest a citation, follow the instructions on the citation.


Q. How do we get the radar trailer on our street?
Call and ask to speak with the on-duty watch commander. Tell them where the problem is and what time of day the violations seem to be occurring. Note the name of the person you spoke with and then please try and call that person back after the trailer has been on your street and advise them of its effectiveness.

Q. How does traffic radar work?
Simply speaking, a radar device sends out a radio signal which bounces off the approaching vehicle and returns to the device which determines the speed of the vehicle and displays it in miles per hour to the operator. The radar "guns" have built in calibrating devices to insure their accuracy. They are tested each day they are in use.

Q. If I have been involved in a collision, and want a copy of the Police Report, what can I do?
If you have an interest in the collision, either as a vehicle owner, property owner, or driver, you may obtain a copy of the report at the Records Office of the Police Department, five working days after the date of the incident. A copy of the report is $2.00, though you may look at the report for free. Identification is required. If you wish to know if the report is finished, you may call San Carlos Police Records at (650) 802-4277.

Q. My neighborhood seems like a speed trap, with Police Officers working radar a lot. Don't they have more important calls to take care of ?
Collisions, particularly injury collisions, are a serious concern to all of us. We strive to work a balance between all of our responsibilities, including traffic enforcement. Our aim at using radar is to reduce the speed of the vehicles traveling the roadway, and bring the average speed of cars using the road down to a safe level. In 1994, the City of San Carlos had over 430 reportable accidents, with over 100 injuries. Excessive speed was a factor in many of these accidents.

In many cases, radar is only used on a street after an exhaustive engineering study has been made of the roadway. Such a study includes the measuring of vehicle speeds, the accident history of the roadway for the past 5 years, the state average of collisions for similar roadways, and the nature of the roadway and neighborhood itself. Calls and complaints from residents about apparent speeding also plays a large part on where radar is used.

Q. What can I do about speeding vehicles on my street?
Call the Police Department's business number (650) 802-4277 and ask to speak to the Sergeant on duty. Explain your situation to the Sergeant. Your complaint will be recorded and efforts will be made to monitor the traffic in your area.

Other means, such as a radar equipped trailer with a speed display or unmanned Police vehicles parked in the area serve the purpose of reminding drivers to watch their speed.

Q. Why are parking ticket fines sent to the Office of Parking Violations in San Jose?
The Cities and County in San Mateo County have contracted out parking ticket fine collections to a private firm.

All parking citations are sent to this centralized location where computerized notices are sent to the vehicle's registered owner. Economies of scale allow the company to administer the program cheaper and more efficiently than the individual cities and the county court system can do it.