TODAY'S QUESTION: Should red-light cameras be banned in Missouri?

Thursday, April 29, 2010 | 9:33 a.m. CDT; updated 10:52 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, May 5, 2010

*CORRECTION: Sen. Gary Nodler is from Joplin. An earlier version of this article incorrectly reported his city of residence.

COLUMBIA — On Monday, the Missouri Senate passed an amendment to an omnibus transportation bill with a 23-8 roll call vote. This amendment would ban the use of red-light cameras throughout the state.

Absent from the vote were Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, Sens. Jolie Justus, D-Kansas City, and Gary Nodler, R-Joplin.* All have had red-light cameras in their districts.

Five red-light cameras are currently in operation in Columbia. Two cameras were installed last year at the intersections of Broadway and Providence Road and Stadium Boulevard and Worley Street. They became operational in August. Since then, the city has added a camera to the intersection of Stadium and Providence Road, and two cameras at the intersection of Stadium and Forum boulevards.

This isn't the first time red-light cameras have caused controversy in Missouri cities.

Last year, a federal court ruled against the recipient of a traffic ticket in the city of Arnold as the result of a red-light camera. The ruling rejected claims that the cameras violate the rights of drivers.

The Missouri Supreme Court ruled against the city of Springfield in another case in March involving a ticket from a red-light camera in the city. Following the ruling, the city suspended its use of the cameras.

Schaefer said he would have supported the ban had he been present for the vote, saying there is "room for manipulation" by municipalities, which can use tactics such as shortening the duration of yellow lights to increase the number of violators captured on camera. Despite this, Schaefer said, he "doesn't have any reason" for believing Columbia is using such tactics.

 Should red-light cameras be banned in Missouri? Why or why not?

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Mark Flakne April 30, 2010 | 7:09 a.m.

Yes. They are a payola scam. They don't stop red light running and they don't stop red light accidents. Longer yellows and an all red pause would do more to keep drivers safe. 30% of every Columbia ticket goes to the multi-national corporation Gatso. Citizens of Columbia have become gatso's ATM.

These companies are good at selling these products to cities. Gatso knows full well that people will continue to run red lights. If their product worked their income would stop.

The collusion of private business and law enforcement is also frightening. It reminds me of Mussolini's Italy.

(Report Comment)
Elizabeth Thomas April 30, 2010 | 1:13 p.m.

More and more people who study this issue are realizing the same thing - RLCs exist to make money for their vendors. As Mark said, if their product did as they promise, which is "reducing red-light violations and accidents", then they wouldn't make a lot of money off of their product.

The facts show that not only do red light cameras have no effect on decreasing accidents, they many times INcrease the number -and severity - of accidents. There are very logical reasons for this, which one will find with only a small bit of studying.

There are much more logical ways to solve the issue of red light running and cut down SIGNIFICANTLY on accidents at the same time, as Mark also mentioned above. These options are very simple, very effective and of course, unfortunately don't make the city any revenue - which very well may be why the council seems hesitant to even research these very common-sense alternatives.

Red light cameras are UNconstitutional and UNSAFE. Hell YES they should be banned, for one or both of those reasons. And to Laura Nauser's comment on this ban, I would pose to her this question: Do you advocate an unconstitutional "tyranny of the majority"?

(Report Comment)
Elizabeth Thomas April 30, 2010 | 1:16 p.m.

Really want the truth?
Two pages full of independent, impartial studies on photo radar enforcement:

(Report Comment)
Elizabeth Thomas May 1, 2010 | 2:17 p.m.

Why were my last two comments removed??
Censorship from the Columbia Missourian...???? Pfft. Never.
Wanna take this one down too?

(Report Comment)
Elizabeth Thomas May 1, 2010 | 2:19 p.m.

Perhaps it was my use of the word "H" "E" double-hockey sticks in the first. That's some hardcore censorship if so. Still doesn't explain the second comment's removal.

(Report Comment)
Mark Flakne May 1, 2010 | 2:36 p.m.

That is odd!

(Report Comment)
Jake Sherlock May 1, 2010 | 2:47 p.m.

Note to E. Thomas:

Per your inquiry about why your previous comments were removed, I e-mailed you this yesterday after removing your comments:

Thank you for your recent comments at While we appreciate citizens like yourself who contribute to public discussions, we ask that you use your real name when posting. This is part of our commentary policy, which you can read at this link:

I have temporarily disabled your account and have removed your posts. If you can provide me with your first and last name, I can reactive your account and restore your posts — your login name and password will remain the same, but your real name will be displayed with all past comments.

Thank you again for reading

If you'd like to get back to me, you can do so at

Jake Sherlock
Opinion editor
Columbia Missourian

(Report Comment)

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