By on January 31, 2011

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.

Source: PDF File Letter to Sen. Ryan McKenna (Jefferson County, Missouri, 1/24/2011)


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5 Comments on “Missouri County Moves to Oust Red Light Cameras...”

  • avatar

    Rename this website “The Truth About Red Light Cameras”?

  • avatar

    I don’t know if the cause and effect relationship has been looked at in this instance. 32,909 red light citations in one jurisdiction and the problem is deemed the red light cameras? Sounds like a lot of folks are running reds and don’t like being found out. The shared revenue amount seems to be a real windfall for both the county and ATS, and I guess that is a concern as well. It would be interesting to know how adding red light cameras increased the accident rate at intersections so dramatically.

    • 0 avatar

      > 32,909 red light citations in one jurisdiction and the problem is deemed the red light cameras?
      If they are like the red light cameras we have here, the yellow light duration was shortened when the camera went up.  I can see how that leads to more tickets.
      > It would be interesting to know how adding red light cameras increased the accident rate at intersections so dramatically.
      I see a rear-ender about once a week around here.   What seems to happen is the person sees the yellow and locks up the brakes.   The city government has acknowledged that rear-end collisions have increased, but argue that the cameras are worth it because side-impact collisions have reduced.  I am not sure I buy that last part, but I know my bank account has been reduced by $125 a time or two until I caught on to the fast yellow and started slamming on my brakes like everybody else.

  • avatar

    Even with my dislike of cameras, one month of data seems like a pretty weak argument.  Better to focus on the broader arguments in this case like proving the owner is the driver and such.  I’d like to think the board would try to ensure that yellow lights are long enough for the average speed at each intersection, but for some reason I think they’ll spend so much getting out of the contract that the real safety solution won’t be addressed.

  • avatar

    Red light cameras are a lousy way to raise revenues when one third of the money collected is siphoned out of the community to the camera installer.  Nice racket.

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