A bill to prohibit Missouri towns from using automated
cameras to ticket drivers has died.
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
remained in the Senate judiciary panel when the session ended, effectively
killing it for the year.
The bill – SB719 – would have prohibited local governments
from installing the cameras. Any cameras already in place – such as is the case
in Arnold and Florissant – also would have had to come down.
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 Missourian.
The effort could be brought back for consideration when
lawmakers reconvene in January 2007.