141222_redlight_file

The camera at the Frederick Boulevard and Belt Highway intersection is shown in this 2013 News-Press photo.

Missouri voters could have a voice on the future of red-light cameras.

A bill filed earlier this month in the state legislature would ask voters in August 2016 if they want to ban the use of red-light cameras.

Rep. Paul Curtman, R-Union, pre-filed the bill Dec. 1. He cited recent election results as one of the reasons for giving the state’s voters a choice on the issue. In St. Charles County, a ban on the devices passed Nov. 4 by a 73 percent to 27 percent margin.

Mr. Curtman also questioned the practices of many local government leaders who have classified all offenses caught by red-light cameras as a non-moving violation, which allows municipalities to collect a fine without assigning points to a driver’s license.

“At the end of the day, it’s all about municipalities generating revenue in a way that builds barriers of distrust between the people and their government,” Mr. Curtman said. “I intend to afford Missourians with the opportunity to speak loud and clear as a check and balance to their government, and this bill allows just that.”

St. Joseph began its own red-light camera saga in July 2010, when City Council passed laws to establish how it would handle the devices. The council approved an agreement in May 2011 with American Traffic Solutions and the Missouri Highways Commission to operate the cameras within the city, with cameras going online in February 2013. The cameras operated within the city until November 2013, when they were taken offline in response to a state lawsuit.

St. Joseph Police Chief Chris Connally said the city’s equipment remains in place at the two intersections where it was originally installed — Belt Highway and Frederick Boulevard and Belt Highway and Cook Road.

Mr. Connally said the city eagerly awaits a decision on the legality of red-light cameras from the Missouri Supreme Court, which heard arguments beginning this month.

“It’s an effective program and it did what we thought it would do,” Mr. Connally said.

The agreement St. Joseph made with American Traffic Solutions paid the company entirely with a percentage of revenue from the tickets that were issued. As a result, the city does not owe the company any money while the cameras are shut down and would not have to pay any fee if the lawsuit or an eventual voter decision requires the cameras to be removed.

Clinton Thomas can be reached at clinton.thomas@newspressnow.com.

Follow him on Twitter: @SJNPThomas.

(10) comments

jcwconsult

Red light and speed cameras have lost 32 of 35 votes so far and in the 4 votes in 2014 the cameras lost all 4 by over 70%. The public has learned that red light and speed cameras are money grab scams that depend upon deliberately improper traffic safety engineering which can decrease safety in order to issue most tickets to safe drivers for harmless technical fouls.

It would be almost certain that a public vote would result in banning the cameras statewide and this would be great news. Then cities would no longer have a financial incentive to use deliberately improper traffic safety engineering to decrease safety in order to issue more tickets for money grab revenue. Ticket cameras should be banned by law in every state, as they are in some already.

James C. Walker, Life Member - National Motorists Association

StJoeMessage

See this report on that was on ABC News
Issues With Red Light and Speeding Cameras

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33sgQwtC6sY

jdw64485

If the law access a point for a stop sign violation without a camera. It should do the same for a violation controlled by a camera. A violation is a violation both are the same.

okay

I don't understand why people vote against a law that would make people safer. The smoking ban issue, yes, I can see both sides of that, but this is a no-brainer. Nobody is taking away anybody's rights. They are simply enforcing an existing law which increases safety. What is the big deal?

GoHawkeyes

/sarcasm

Because laws apply to everyone BUT me.

pitty

Can we keep the cameras (and install more) not for handing out tickets to drivers speeding thru yellow/red lights, but for "evidence" when needed involving traffic accidents, speed chases, and "various who done what and where" incidents?

How many businesses and individuals have lost property like HVAC units alone in downtown areas, and are left with no recourse, because there's no evidence of the usual suspects lurking around in the shadows of the midnight hour?

GoHawkeyes

No! Those businesses should put up their own cameras. The public doesn't not need to fund their insurance. As for evidence in accidents, get yourself a dash cam. They are cheap and easy to use. I employ one in the front and back of all of my vehicles and they have already come in handy when someone backed into be at a stop light and insisted to the police and insurance company that I rear-ended them.

pitty

Businesses can put up their own, but cameras aid crime reduction. Anything wrong with that?

NoRegrets

IF the State is determined to use Red Light Cameras, then put them where they would do the most good: AT SCHOOL CROSSINGS!!! I have personally witnessed far too many drivers driving through BUSY crossings, against the light, and yes, more than once, barely missing the crossing guards and other children....

bosco1

Sounds like the way to go put it to state wide vote!

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