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  1. #1
    Yoda of Radar
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    Default Missouri ,Sen files bill to ban cameras at intersections.

    Crowell files bill to ban cameras at intersections
    Sunday, December 25, 2005
    RUDI KELLER ~ Southeast Missourian

    Those already installed would have to be removed.

    Perched above the stoplights in a few Missouri towns, cameras record automobiles that run through intersections after the lights change to red. A few days later, the owners of those cars receive a citation.

    The cameras in Arnold, Florissant and Springfield would have to come down if State Sen. Jason Crowell, R-Cape Girardeau, succeeds in passing a bill he proposed for the upcoming legislative session.

    Arguments against the cameras, Crowell said, range from an opposition to the financing arrangements for the monitors -- many companies installing them receive a share of the fines -- to questions about intrusive government.

    In jurisdictions that use the cameras, some receiving citations have pleaded that they were not driving the cars at the time of the violation. But Missouri law makes car owners liable for the safe operation of their vehicles. For example, it is a crime to allow a car to be used by an unlicensed driver.

    Those supporting the cameras, including Cape Girardeau Police Lt. John Davis, believe the watchful automatic eyes make all motorists safer. They see no difference between using technology to watch an intersection and a live police officer posted at the same spot.

    Residents favor monitoring

    Missourians seem to favor the cameras. A poll of 600 state residents conducted by Zogby International in late October found 80 percent of those surveyed approved of cameras monitoring dangerous intersections.

    The poll was commissioned by the Missouri Insurance Coalition.

    "The safety world out there knows there are an awful lot of violations at intersections," said Calvin Call, director of the insurance group, which is the lobbying arm of the insurance industry.

    He said senior citizens are the leading cause of fatalities at intersections. He said failing eyesight or slower response times may explain why.

    Crowell's bill would deny local governments the authority to install the cameras. In addition to banning new installations, the provisions would also require any already in place to be removed.

    One of the worst aspects of the cameras is that some cities across the country gave the companies that installed them complete control of enforcement at monitored intersections, Crowell said.

    Companies change the timing of monitored lights by actions such as shortening yellow light cycles, Crowell said. That means more tickets and more revenue for the vendors.

    "The goal may be a lofty goal, but in this whole analysis of lofty goals I hope we don't get caught up in the ends justifying the means," he said.

    Another problem with some systems is that they do not record any information that could mitigate the violation. An ambulance approaching a motorist blocking an intersection is a legitimate reason to run a red light, Crowell said.

    Safeguards to protect motorists from misuse of the cameras can be included in any system, said Davis of the Cape Girardeau police.

    Davis, who is chairman of the Missouri Law Enforcement Traffic Safety Advisory Council, said the added safety provided by the cameras outweighs any other considerations in his view.

    Increased safety

    Not only do the cameras reduce the number of crashes at monitored intersections, there is a 40 percent decrease in the number of crashes throughout cities and towns with the monitors, he said. Motorists are warier because they are unsure where the cameras are located.

    Davis opposes any system that doesn't include a review by a trained law enforcement officer prior to the issuance of the ticket.

    Questions about intrusive monitoring of the public can be countered by noting that people live with cameras watching them in stores, banks, parking lots and other locations, he said. "And the time the systems I saw are watching is when you are violating the law," he said.

    Cape Girardeau has discussed installing the monitoring cameras in the past, Davis said, but there are no current plans to create a system.

    Crowell's bill does not specifically bar the state from installing its own camera systems. And it does not prohibit the transformation of a Missouri Department of Transportation program that monitors cell phone signals to gauge traffic flow into a law enforcement system. The monitoring program can track auto speeds. Other systems, such as global positioning systems, can also be used to track cars.

    Whether state law needs to include a prohibition on tracking cars to issue speeding citations is an issue that may come up at hearings on the bill, Crowell said.

    "We may want to act in a preventive manner," he said.
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  2. #2
    Yoda of Radar
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    Missouri Legislature to Take Up Camera Ban Legislation
    State senator introduces legislation to ban red light and speed cameras in Missouri.

    Senator Jason CrowellMissouri State Senator Jason Crowell (R-Cape Girardeau) has introduced a bill for the next legislative session that would ban the use of photo enforcement tickets in the state. SB 719 would declare "null and void" any local ordinance authorizing either red light cameras or photo radar devices. The legislation would confirm the opinion of state Attorney General Jay Nixon who said in August that the city of Arnold's red light camera system did not issue legal or valid citations. The proposal would also force cities to drop their programs.

    Crowell believes during the debate over the bill that lawmakers will consider adding provisions that would bar the state from using cell phone tracking systems to monitor and ticket people driving on Missouri highways. The state recently entered into a contract with wireless telephone companies giving the state real-time tracking information on customers without their knowledge or consent.

    Article Excerpt:

    MISSOURI STATE LEGISLATURE, SECOND REGULAR SESSION, 93RD GENERAL ASSEMBLY
    SENATE BILL NO. 719
    INTRODUCED BY SENATOR CROWELL, Pre-filed December 1, 2005, and ordered printed.

    AN ACT To amend chapter 304, RSMo, by adding thereto one new section relating to the prohibition of certain traffic control devices.
    Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Missouri, as follows:

    Section A. Chapter 304, RSMo, is amended by adding thereto one new section, to be known as section 304.285, to read as follows:

    1. The general assembly hereby occupies and preempts the entire field of legislation touching in any way the use of photo radar systems and automated traffic control systems to the complete exclusion of any order, ordinance or regulation by any political subdivision of this state. Any existing or future orders, ordinances or regulations authorizing the use of such systems to enforce red light running, speeding, or other types of moving violations are hereby null and void.

    2. No county, city, town, village, municipality, or other political subdivision of this state shall adopt any order, ordinance or regulation that authorizes the use of photo radar or an automated traffic control system to enforce state or municipal traffic laws.

    3. As used in this section, the term "automated traffic control system" shall mean a device with one or more motor vehicle sensors working in conjunction with a traffic control signal to automatically produce two or more photographs, two or more micrographs, a videotape or other recorded images of a motor vehicle entering an intersection in violation of red signal indication as described in section 304.281. The term "photo radar system" shall mean a device used primarily for highway speed limit enforcement substantially consisting of a radar unit linked to a camera, which automatically produces a photograph of a motor vehicle traveling in excess of the legal speed limit, with the vehicle's speed, the date, time of day, and location of the violation printed on the photograph.
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