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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Judge Stops Red Light Camera Enforcement in St. Louis City

Posted By on Wed, Feb 12, 2014 at 7:00 AM

No more red-light cameras for St. Louis! For now, at least... - BEN SCHUMIN ON FLICKR
  • Ben Schumin on Flickr
  • No more red-light cameras for St. Louis! For now, at least...

St. Louis City must stop using cameras to ticket drivers for running red lights, a judge ruled Tuesday.

An injunction granted by Circuit Judge Steven Ohmer says the city must stop sending tickets or processing fines for red-light camera violations.

In other words: A judge says St. Louis can't make you pay your red light camera tickets, for now.

See also: St. Louis City Counselor: Don't Like Red Light Cameras? Don't Drive.

Update, Noon: The city of St. Louis says it will appeal the judge's ruling and may go to legislators for a state-wide law on red light cameras.

Ohmer's judgement is the latest in a series of Missouri court decisions trending away from the use of cameras, but the patchwork of contrasting laws means the final decision will probably be up to the state Supreme Court.

Missouri courts have recently ruled that red-light cameras violate the state constitution because they punish the owner, not necessarily the driver, of the car, in cases out of Arnold, Ellisville, Kansas City, Creve Coeur and Hazelwood.

See also: -Court Rules Arnold's Red-Light Camera Ordinance Unconstitutional -Missouri Court Rules Ellisville Red Light Cameras Violate State Law

St. Louis remains adamant that red light cameras are a successful crime-solving tool, especially since they allow police officers to focus on patrolling neighborhoods.

"Red light safety cameras save lives and are a proven, effective tool that is changing driver behavior in the City of St. Louis," says St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief Sam Dotson. "At some of the earliest intersections to install cameras, citations are down more than 80 percent. According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, from 2010 - 2012, total traffic fatalities in the City of St. Louis dropped 19 percent and total crashes have dropped 12 percent."

In 2012, a deadly crash caught by a red light camera helped law enforcement solve an outstanding murder. The city says there are 150 cases where police have requested video from red light cameras to assist in investigations.

Two St. Louis drivers, Sarah Tupper and Sandra Thurmond, filed the injunction in November after receiving tickets for red-light camera violations. Ohmer granted the injunction February 11.

Continue to read the judge's decision.

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