1/31/2011Missouri County Moves to Oust Red Light Cameras
Jefferson County, Missouri moves to repeal red light camera contract three months after signing it.
In October, Jefferson County, Missouri signed a contract with American Traffic Solutions (ATS) allowing the Arizona-based company to issue red light camera tickets in return for a cut of the profits. Now just three months later, the county council wants out of the deal. All seven members were unanimous in the desire to change direction, even signing a letter to lawmakers urging them to adopt a statewide ban on automated ticketing.
"It is very clear that red light cameras have not had a positive effect on safety in Jefferson County, as the proponents of the system promised five years ago," the council letter addressed to state Senator Ryan McKenna stated. "This is not a political statement, but one of common sense based on the statistics that have been provided. Therefore, it is the intent of the Jefferson County Council to ensure that the state laws regarding traffic enforcement currently in place are upheld and enforced, and that the people of unincorporated Jefferson County are ensured their due process and constitutional rights."
The council members are newly elected, entirely replacing the panel that had previously approved the red light camera contract. Activists with the group Wrong on Red, headed by former councilmen from Arnold, have been spreading the word about how accidents were not reduced in the first Missouri jurisdiction to implement automated enforcement.
"Recently, the Missouri Department of Transportation released its figures on a study regarding red light cameras in the state," the county letter explained. "While MoDOT Director Kevin Keith was quoted as saying, 'We believe automated enforcement is a good tool for keeping motorists safe,' the results in Jefferson County do not corroborate this claim."
Through November, cameras within the county issued 32,909 citations worth $3,109,900, with the ATS cut worth $1,031,039. In the city of Arnold, accidents nearly quadrupled at the photo enforced intersection of Richardson Road and Vogel Road. The best performance of any camera was seen at Rockport Elementary along Jeffco Boulevard where collisions declined from nine to eight. The county council will now hold a series of open meetings on repealing the ordinance that authorized the use of red light cameras.
A copy of the Jefferson County letter is available in a 140k PDF file at the source link below.