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?