Hinson Takes Aim at Red Light, Speed Cameras - The Missourian: County

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Hinson Takes Aim at Red Light, Speed Cameras

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Posted: Friday, March 7, 2014 10:00 am

State Rep. Dave Hinson, R-St. Clair, said he would like to see red light cameras outlawed, but instead he is working on a compromise bill that would place restrictions on them.

Past efforts in the Legislature to ban red light cameras have been unsuccessful, he said.

But Hinson said his bill reining in how they could be used may pass the House this week to go to the Senate.

His bill would prevent points from being assessed against someone’s driver’s license when the evidence is solely based on an automated traffic enforcement system.

The bill would also limit the locations where speed enforcement cameras could be placed.

Other lawmakers have filed numerous amendments to the bill.

One amendment would require a camera to capture a frontal image of the vehicle’s driver in order for a violation to be enforced.

Under another amendment, governing bodies would have to obtain voter approval before using traffic enforcement cameras.

Another amendment would prohibit people 21 and younger from using cellphones while driving unless the device can be operated in a hands-free manner.

Hinson said some cities have decided they don’t want violations caught on cameras to be moving violations but just treated similar to a parking ticket.

Under his bill, the fine could not exceed $135.

Enforcement cameras used on the state highway system would have to be permitted by the Missouri Department of Transportation, the bill states.

This would prevent cities from placing enforcement cameras on state roads without first obtaining approval from MoDOT, Hinson noted.

The goal is to prevent the cameras from popping up all over the place, especially in small towns that may put them “anywhere and everywhere,” Hinson said.

For instance, he said a speed camera was placed in the mayor’s yard in Country Club Hills.

MoDOT is better at deciding where the enforcement cameras should be placed because the agency has the traffic data, such as accident history, Hinson said.

He noted that the city of Washington used to have red light cameras but local citizens got upset and the cameras stopped being utilized.

Likewise, red light cameras and speed cameras cannot be used to enforce violations of the Franklin County Traffic Code, the county municipal court rules state.

Hinson said he does not think his bill weakens traffic laws.

The bill creates several regulations when it comes to placing red light cameras on roads not part of the state highway system.

Jurisdictions would have to: Adopt an ordinance authorizing the use of the technology; conduct a crash study at the intersection; and install signs stating “Signal Is Photo Enforced.”

His bill also says that speed cameras can only go in travel safe zones, work zones and school zones and approved by MoDOT.

Signs stating that intersections are photo enforced for the speed limit would be required.

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