Time running out for red light camera decision

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Run a red light and you could face a higher fine if Missouri lawmakers don’t pass a red light camera bill this week.
Red light cameras in Kansas City are on although they’re currently not ticketing. Right now, there are 17 cameras throughout the city capturing pictures of license plates. Soon though, the city could add another one to capture your face.

The city stopped enforcing violations in November because a court panel ruled that most ordinances governing the cameras were not enforceable. It was a detriment, according to the city.

“As soon as those cameras went up and the enforcement started, you saw a drastic decrease in the number of accidents and the number of red lights run at those intersections because they were working,” City Spokesperson Chris Hernandez said.

A bill awaits approval that would change those regulations but if the state Senate doesn't pass it by Friday, Kansas City could have to find a way around current regulations.

That means adding a camera that captures faces.

“Where we can recognize the drivers face, that will put us on a different legal ground than just using the license plate numbers so that's a possible path forward for us or possibly assessing points against the car,” Hernandez said.

If that's the case, red light runners would face a moving violation with higher fines, points added to their license and a longer legal process.

“It will be more difficult. We'll have to views the videos to prove that the person driving is the person given the ticket and it will take more court time for us when we go to court, it will be more involved,” Attorney Howard Lotzen said.

Before suspension of the violations, the city generated more than $2 million in revenue since 2009 when the cameras were installed.

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