Jefferson County bans red light cameras, seeks safety alternativ -

Jefferson County bans red light cameras, seeks safety alternatives

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By KMOV Web Producer By KMOV Web Producer

(KMOV) -- Another local community is doing away with red light cameras. 

This time it's Jefferson County.  It follows a ban already in place in Washington, Missouri.

It's a backward trend from what we had been seeing over the years as city after city raced to install the cameras.

The Missouri Department of Transportation recently studied 55 red light camera intersections and found an overall 14% increase in accidents.  A Jefferson County councilman says in fact, at the intersection of Richardson and Vogel Roads, accidents nearly quadrupled since the cameras were installed.

American Traffic Solutions (ATS) was to issue tickets in Jefferson County in return for a cut of the profits.  But councilman Bob Boyer says the cameras, which are meant to change drivers' behavior, aren't working as promised.  He points to statistics that red light runners in Arnold nearly doubled in the past five years.

"Last year alone we had 9,400 people running red lights," Boyer says.  "Anybody with common sense can see that if you have that many people running red lights, there's obviously a safety issue there."

In a written statement, ATS says:
"It is sadly ironic that Jefferson County, with its history of traffic deaths, severe injuries and crashes including Highway 21's 'Blood Alley,' would ignore the proven success of red light safety cameras as part of its total traffic safety enforcement."

But Boyer says the camera providers are companies that are out to do business.

"ATS comes to town, they find your problem for you, then they say 'hey look, we have a solution for your problem that we found for you, and it's red light cameras'," Boyer says.

But instead of cameras, Boyer met with MODOT to make yellow lights run longer.

"That showed that if you increase yellow light times by one second, you have a 40 percent reduction in red light running," Boyer says.

He hopes other cities -- and the state -- will get on board.  Right now two bills to ban automated enforcement state-wide are currently working their way through the Missouri legislature.

Red light camera PSA (courtesy American Traffic Solutions)
ATS statement

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