Red-Light Camera Ban Passes Senate

UPDATE: Food for thought as legislators consider Senate Bill 14-181, here are some interesting points in favor of red light cameras from the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police:

Year-to-year changes in red-light running fatalities reveal an average annual decrease of 5.6% from 2007 to 2011. U.S. and worldwide studies show a 25 to 30 % reduction in injury crashes at locations with red-light safety cameras, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports. A five-year study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in 2011 found red-light cameras saved more than 150 lives in 14 of the largest U.S. cities, reducing fatalities by 24 percent.

Cameras get drivers’ attention, and reduce the most dangerous type of collisions – right angle crashes. A 2011 Texas Transportation Institute study of 11,122 crash records from 275 intersections showed 633 fewer crashes at intersections with cameras; and a 32% decrease in right-angle crashes…

The use of photo speed radar enforcement is already strictly limited to residential streets, school zones and construction zones. It can be used only where the speed limits is not more than 35 miles per hour. A violator must be exceeding the speed limit by at least 10 miles per hour to receive a ticket. Photo speed radar vans are manned by qualified personnel. Red light cameras are deployed at selected high risk intersections. Fines are limited to a maximum $40 for speeding and $75 for red light infractions. No points are assessed against a driver’s record.



As the Denver Post's Kurtis Lee reports, the red-light camera ban bill, supported by a bipartisan election-year coalition and hotly opposed by local government reaping big bucks from installed cameras, has passed the Colorado Senate:

At its core, Senate Bill 181 would bar local municipalities from using automated vehicle-identification systems that pinpoint drivers. Along with red-light cameras, the measure includes photo radar cameras that detect speed.

The bill moved out of the Senate on a 21-14 vote. The only amendment attached allows for toll roads to continue using photo radar cameras that detect speed.

The measure has support from Democrats and Republicans in the legislature. Gov. John Hickenlooper on Monday was noncommittal toward the bill. Hickenlooper, a Democrat, said at an afternoon news conference he's seen earlier versions of the bill, but has yet to view its current form.

"I think there are a number of people that feel a level of anger over what they feel is an intrusion and is not making their roads safer, and their opinion is that it's a way for local governments to try to increase their revenues," Hickenlooper said when asked about his personal views on the concept of banning photo red-light cameras. "That creates a real frustration in a lot of elected officials."

Gov. John Hickenlooper's sympathy for those poor, misunderstood elected officials notwithstanding, the public at large seems to be the most "frustrated" party over red-light cameras. The disagreement over the public safety value of these systems is difficult to sort through legitimately, due to what's perceived to be an ulterior motive to raise badly-needed revenue for local government–one thing red-light cameras excel at. Sometimes it falls to your humble hosts to remind our readers that revenue for our local governments is a good thing, or failing that at least a necessary evil–and if TABOR won't let governments get it the old-fashioned way, they've got to get creative.

A poll follows: will Gov. Hickenlooper sign Senate Bill 14-181 if it passes?

Will Gov. John Hickenlooper sign the red-light camera ban if it passes?

10 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. davebarnesdavebarnes says:

    I am in favor of cameras if 100% of the gross revenue is given to the Red Cross.

    Let's see how many city politicians would support cameras in that case.

  2. DavieDavie says:

    I'm not sure which is worse — seeing 3 cars stream through turning left after the light turned red, or getting stuck behind a creepy-crawler driver as the light goes from green to yellow to red before you can exit the intersection.

    We need longer left turn signals and a little longer yellow transitions.

    I also give the guy behind me plenty of warning that I'm stopping and not going to run the light if I know from experience it's gonna turn on me.

  3. ModeratusModeratus says:

    Defend Zombie Cams, statists. The public will love you!

  4. OrangeFreeOrangeFree says:

    "I think there are a number of people that feel a level of anger over what they feel is an intrusion and is not making their roads safer  their getting caught breaking the law and thus having to pay a fine for said law breaking, and their opinion is that it's a way for local governments to try to increase their revenues,"

    FTFY, Hick. 

  5. I'm with the governor's "number of people". A fine of a few bucks doesn't stop the real offenders. Many people don't know or don't care if the cameras are there. Some get distracted by the inordinate number of false flashes (or flashes aimed at other cars).

    And as we discussed the other day, the safety stats aren't nearly as rosy as the CACP presents – especially when compared to changes in actual light timing.

    Further, in some jurisdictions the images are kept and are searchable – an expansion of a surveillance / police state or the perception of such an expansion absent the implementation of affirmative privacy protection measures or even the desire for such measures.

  6. notaskinnycooknotaskinnycook says:

    If the "redlight" bill gets signed, will the "ticket-mobiles" go away, too? I'm a block down from a very busy intersection. The ticket-mobiles are constantly parked two doors down from my house and the flashes from the camera drive me bonkers, especially at night.  

  7. Nasty Womanyameniye says:

    If the revenue stream did not include a for-profit company I would feel slightly better about the things.  They may reduce T-bone collisions, but they increase rear-end collisions. 


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