The Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission today adopted a policy to regulate the growing use of red-light cameras in the state and ensure the technology is used fairly and consistently.
In October the Missouri Department of Transportation suspended the installation of any new cameras
on state-owned roadways while it reviewed how they were being used.
Don Hillis, systems manager for MoDOT, tells Daily RFT
that the new policies apply only to roads maintained by the state, such as Manchester and Gravois in St. Louis.
The new regulations, which take effect immediately, require that:
- Only a certified law enforcement officer can determine violations;
- Before they can issue citations, local entities must conduct a public awareness campaign;
- Signs must be posted in advance noting cameras are monitoring the intersection; and
- Cities and counties must submit an annual report providing safety and citation data.
"The policy provides better guidance on how the cameras can be used and more oversight to make sure the cameras are used to increase safety and prevent injuries and death," said MoDOT Director Kevin Keith in a statement today. "It was developed with input from law enforcement agencies, cities, counties and vendors."
St. Louis City already follows most of the rules issued today, though we're not sure about that part requiring an annul release of citation and safety data.
The commission today also tackled those pesky speed cameras
used by a few north St. Louis County municipalities. Under the guidelines, automated speed enforcement cameras can only be used on state highways in school, work and Travel Safe zones (a Travel Safe zone is a designated area where extra precaution is necessary due to the stretch of highway experiencing a higher number of crashes than similar highways).
The more stringent oversight rules that apply to the red-light cameras are also in effect for the speed-enforcement cameras.
MoDOT says it will work with local municipalities that have existing cameras to bring them into compliance.
"We believe automated enforcement is a good tool for keeping motorists safe," Keith said.
MoDOT traffic studies show there is a 45 percent reduction in right angle crashes causing fatalities and serious injuries at intersections using red-light cameras. However, the cameras also seem to cause a 14 percent increase in collisions causing no injuries or only minor injuries.
MoDOT receives none of the revenue generated from red-light and automated speed enforcement violations. In addition, the department does not own or operate the cameras and has no part in deciding which company is chosen to install the automated enforcement. This is entirely up to the local jurisdictions.