St. Joseph joined cities around the country in installing red-light cameras in 2013. It also shut down the controversial technology just eight months after it started.
Debates sparked following the City Council’s approval of the cameras’ use in 2011, but the city unveiled them anyway in January of this year.
American Traffic Solutions, a company contracted by the city, installed the cameras at no upfront cost at the intersections of the Belt Highway and Frederick Boulevard, and the Belt Highway and Cook Road. Signs also were installed, alerting drivers that red-light cameras were in operation.
Offenders were given a 30-day grace period before fines were levied, beginning Feb. 17. Violators were mailed a ticket with a $100 fee.
Technicians with American Traffic Solutions reviewed all videos first, then they were verified by the Police Department, Capt. Matt Rock told the News-Press.
Tickets then were sent to the owner of the vehicle, regardless of who was driving. At least one person took advantage of the appeals process. In that particular trial, the driver argued that she did not run the red light.
The citations, however, do not accumulate points on the driver’s license. It was this clause that led to the camera’s demise.
On Nov. 5, the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, ruled that any person who runs a red light should be issued a moving violation, which results in points assessed against their license. St. Joseph’s ordinance was similar to other communities across the state, including Ellisville, Mo., the city involved in the state case.
Section 304.120.3 of the Missouri State Statute invalidates any municipal ordinance that is in conflict with state law. St. Joseph officials followed suit, suspending the enforcement of their local red-light camera ordinances on Nov. 7.
Anyone who received a summons from a violation that occurred before Nov. 7 is asked to review the options provided to them with the ticket.
Since their implementation, police have issued 3,137 citations and the city has netted approximately $97,260.