Red-light camera ruling puts brakes on council's plans -, GA News Weather & Sports

Red-light camera ruling puts brakes on council's plans


The Kansas City Council's plans to revive its red-light camera ordinance were put on hold Tuesday after a second appeals court ruling.

An appeals court in eastern Missouri ruling earlier this month had caused the council to put the original ordinance on hold. The council planned to approve changes on Tuesday in hopes of putting the red-light cameras back in business.

But a ruling issued Tuesday morning by the western appeals court put the kibosh on the plans.

Currently, the city issues tickets to the owner of the vehicle that is caught running a red light. No points on a driver's record were issued for violations since the city wasn't trying to prove that the owner was behind the wheel at the time.

A Missouri appeals court ruled that unconstitutional and it's now pending before the Missouri Supreme Court.

In an effort to get judicial OK, the council had planned to send a ticket to the vehicle's owner. If the owner can prove that he or she wasn't driving, then the ticket would be reissued to the driver of the vehicle.

Many cities ticket the owner of a vehicle caught running a red light, regardless of who was driving, and do not report the infraction to the state to have points assessed.

But the Tuesday's ruling said that the ordinance doesn't assess points against a driver's license. The appeals court judges said running a red light is a moving violation and points are assessed as a result.

The appeals court on Tuesday ruled on a case directly related to Kansas City's red-light cameras. The judges want to know whether the cameras are intended to raise money for the city or promote public safety and whether the violations are criminal or civil in nature.

Councilman John Sharp vowed to do whatever is necessary to get the cameras back in operation. He said they are saving lives because they promote safety and reduce crashes.

"Nobody likes them but they're effective," he said. "I think the council is unanimous that these cameras have worked. They have drastically cut down on T-bone crashes and they change behavior."

The council's Public Safety Committee will meet again on Dec. 4 to discuss the issue with city attorneys.

In the meantime, the Kansas City Police Department will step up enforcement at the 17 intersections with the cameras, Sharp said. He said motorists should know "there's no free ride on running red lights."

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