More red light runners with lack of cameras

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The company that owns and operates Kansas City's red light cameras said Monday the streets are getting more dangerous.

American Traffic Solutions said its cameras are still watching drivers who run red light cameras but the city is not issuing any tickets to offenders.

ATS said from the time, Kansas City police stopped policing the robotic red light system; it has seen a dramatic increase in violations.

In December 2012, when the city was still writing tickets, ATS said its cameras recorded 5,239 incidents. One year later, in December of 2013, the city suspended tickets, 7,775

ATS consultant Steve Glorioso said the incidents from December 2012 to December 2013 increased by nearly 50 percent.

"Red light cameras improve public safety," Glorioso said.

Kansas City police Major Jim Pruetting, who supervises the system, said officers believe the 29 cameras the city has used since 2009 save lives.

When Kansas City launched its program in 2009. tickets peaked at 11,000 in one month and slid to an average last year of 2,500 to 3,000 tickets. 

Some council members, who did not want to be identified Monday, said for ATS to release the unconfirmed numbers was a desperate attempt for the company to try to get the city to reinstate a system that has made it hundreds of thousands of dollars.

But Glorioso said it is instead a plea to the public about safety as much as it is a plea to a court that has so far been skeptical about the true motives of red light cameras.

"It's a matter of public safety and I think there's some feeling if the public knows this there will be enough buzz that even if Supreme Court judges might hear it that they might understand that...there's a public safety component to this," he said.

In November, the Western Court of Appeals raised concerns about Kansas City's red light cameras. It reversed a decision by a Jackson County judge, who had dismissed a lawsuit brought against Kansas City and ATS. A key issue in that case was that Kansas City's ordinance allows a driver to run a traffic light without points being assessed to a license.

Missouri's Supreme Court is expected to make a decision whether to take the case in the next few weeks.

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