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Missouri Legislators Seek to Ban Red Light and License Plate Cameras

Jan 21, 2015

Two Missouri legislators are mounting a campaign to make automated cameras illegal in the state. Currently, automated cameras attached to traffic lights monitor motorists, capture license plates and help issue tickets for traffic violations including red-light violations.

Representative Eric Burlison, a Republican from Springfield and Senator Rob Schaff, a Republican from St. Joseph, have introduced a bill to outlaw Automated License Plate Readers (ALPR). The legislators are concerned that ATS operates the cameras in a predatory fashion since they are a for-profit company.

Cities and states across America have adopted this technology to reduce traffic violations. The company responsible for operating the cameras in Missouri, American Traffic Solutions (ATS) has recently agreed to settle a class action lawsuit alleging that their cameras were operated illegally.

Sixteen states ban the use of ALPRs either through state legislation or state court rulings. The Missouri Court of Appeals has held that red light cameras violate state law. While Missouri residents won’t be able to get tickets within the state on the basis of ALPRs, the bill seeks to protect Missouri residents from getting ticketed for violations incurred in other states.

While Missouri can’t prevent other states from using the cameras, the bill intends to deny ATS access to the license records they need to issue and mail traffic citations. The proposed Missouri bill would not be the first of its kind. South Dakota has already passed a similar law to protect South Dakota drivers from receiving tickets from Iowa.

The Missouri bill prohibits the state Department of Revenue from agreeing to provide information to companies or states that seek that information in order “impose or collect a civil fine that results from an alleged violation captured by a red light camera or speed camera.”

Residents of Missouri overwhelming support banning ALPRs to enforce traffic laws. In some counties, more than 73% of residents oppose the use of such cameras.

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Categories: Auto Accidents

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