Four Years Later, Unused Red Light Cameras Coming Down

Sep 9, 2014

A red light camera on the intersection of National and Sunshine
Credit Julie Greene/KSMU

The City of Springfield says it will remove red light cameras from all 11 intersections in which the devices are currently located. As KSMU’s Julie Greene reports, the decision comes more than four years after the city discontinued the program.

The traffic enforcement cameras are intended to photograph a vehicle that runs a red light. A citation is then mailed to the vehicle owner if a violation is determined to have occurred. These cameras are supposed to aid police officers, but according to some, they often cause more harm than good.

City Councilman Doug Burlison had requested the removal of the cameras. 

“I was never a proponent of that policy to begin with and didn’t think that was a good idea… To me, it was kind of important to see those cameras coming down because if they’re left in place, the technology is probably old at this point, but still, it seems a little foot in the door to maybe return to that policy, and I just didn’t want to see us go there,” Burlison said.

The city noted in a press release that the equipment is now outdated and unusable.

The cameras were turned off following a March 2010 Missouri Supreme Court Decision that stated that city officials violated state law by how it prosecuted motorists ticketed by the cameras. A revised ordinance two years later was tabled indefinitely after fears that it, too, would violate state law.

Burlison says there have been wide-ranging opinions on the subject, from people who feel the cameras only generate revenue and don’t promote safety, to those who want cameras placed at every intersection if that is what increases safety. 

“Now, I think what we have found out, and what other cities have found out through practical experience is those are mixed results, and sometimes, the additional paranoia or concern when someone is approaching an intersection, sometimes those result in higher crash statistics,” Burlison said.

Vendor American Traffic Solutions, via Ewing Signal Construction, is set to remove the cameras, lasers, poles, and pole bases sometime around mid- to late-September. The removal should take no longer than a week.