A bill in the Missouri Senate would no longer allow cities
to use automated cameras to ticket drivers. The effort, however, isn’t stopping
from pursuing the cameras.
The cameras snap pictures of red-light runners or speeders.
A ticket is mailed to the vehicles’ owners, regardless who was driving at the
Sponsored by Sen. Jason Crowell, R-Cape Girardeau, the bill
would prohibit local governments from installing the cameras. Any cameras
already in place – such as those in
– also would have to come
Supporters say the equipment acts as a deterrent and helps
snare red-light-running drivers who otherwise might not get caught.
But others question the effectiveness of such intersection
cameras, arguing they have the potential to distract drivers and cause more
In fact, a study paid for by the U.S. Department of
Transportation showed rear-end crashes actually increased in cities with
red-light cameras, as motorists stopped abruptly at yellow lights to avoid
Further, Crowell said some are concerned over a funding
arrangement that gives the companies installing cameras a share of the revenue
from fines. Companies change the timing of monitored lights by actions such as
shortening yellow-light cycles – meaning more tickets and more revenue for the
vendors, Crowell told the Southeast
The bill – SB719 – doesn’t include a provision to bar the
state from using cell phone tracking systems to monitor and ticket people
driving on highways in the state, but Crowell said that could be added to the
bill during debate.
The state recently entered into a contract with National
Engineering Technology Corp. to begin tracking cell phone signals during a
trial period in
The monitoring will provide the state with information about
traffic on 5,500 miles of
interstates and numbered roads.
“We may want to act in a preventive manner,” Crowell told
The debate hasn’t stopped
city officials from moving
forward with plans to bring the cameras to town.
The city council could vote as early as Monday, Jan. 23, to
authorize the cameras at the city’s most dangerous intersections, the Springfield News-Leader reported.