Future of red light cameras in Missouri communities in jeopardy

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The future of red-light cameras in Missouri communities – including Kansas City - could be in jeopardy after a state appeals court panel ruled that most municipal ordinances governing the cameras are not enforceable.

In Ellsville, Mo., on the eastern side of the state, a court of appeals made a new ruling that said there are discrepancies between state law and the city's laws.

Kansas City will not issue tickets based on video shot by the cameras until an expected appeal goes to the Missouri Supreme Court. Cases currently outstanding will be continued.

In Kansas City, nearly 200,000 tickets have been issued since the cameras were installed at 18 intersections across the city in 2009. City Spokesman Chris Hernandez said the city has taken in roughly $2 million in revenue generated by the cameras since they were installed, but that the tickets generated have fallen each year – proving the cameras work to improve safety.

"These are considered a safety measure, and they are working as a safety measure," Hernandez said "That's why we want them to continue."

Hernandez stressed that traffic enforcement will continue with police officers on the ground.

"We don't want people to think you can suddenly go out and start running red lights," he said. "That's not going to happen. Police are still writing tickets for red light violations.

Recently, the Kansas City City Council extended its contract with the American Traffic Solutions for another five years. The contract will continue the operation of 29 cameras at the 18 intersections.

In a report presented to city council members, the number of traffic crashes was said to have fallen since 2008.

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