Stop-sign cameras catch LA drivers off guard

The nation's first stop-sign cameras have surprised Southern California road warriors used to seeing red-light cameras and speed traps on their daily drives.

They've also stirred controversy as cash-strapped cities rely on them to enforce rules of the road.

Proponents say stop-sign cameras, introduced in 2007, are valuable public safety tools.

Meanwhile, a lawsuit seeking class-action status on behalf of several ticketed drivers contends the cameras conflict with the state vehicle code, which require automated enforcement systems provide a clear photograph of a vehicle's license plate and the offending driver.

There are seven stop-sign cameras scattered in parks along the Santa Monica Mountains. During an 18-month period ending May 31, nearly 35,000 citations were issued and parks collected nearly $2 million.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.