Judge Upholds Ellisville's Red Light Cameras

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St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Thea Sherry is the latest Missouri magistrate to rule in favor of the constitutionality of red light cameras.

Judge Sherry dismissed a class-action lawsuit October 30 that challenged Ellisville's ordinance allowing for the controversial cameras. Her ruling marks the fifth time in the past year that a Missouri judge has struck down a class-action lawsuit filed against a municipality and camera vendor American Traffic Solutions. The other four lawsuits, all filed by attorneys John Campbell and Ryan Keane with the Simon Law Firm, took aim at Creve Coeur, Kansas City, Florissant and Arnold.

Related content:
- Rash of Class-Action Lawsuits Take Aim at Red Light Cameras
- St. Louis' Red-Light Camera Ordinance Officially Declared Void
- Rulings in Kansas City, Creve Coeur and Arnold

"At some point the attorneys bringing these frivolous lawsuits are going to realize that there is no pot of gold at the end of this rainbow," said George Hittner, general counsel for ATS, in a statement.

So, for those of you keeping score at home (and for the many people who call me up asking whether they should pay their red light ticket) here's the score: If a camera catches you in Creve Coeur, Ellisville, Arnold, Kansas City or Florissant, you probably want to pay the fine. If you got a ticket in St. Louis -- the one municipality where a judge has ruled against the red light camera ordinance -- pay at your own discretion. But keep in mind, the city is appealing that unfavorable ruling.

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It is unfortunate, and likely due to ignorance on the part of the judges, that the predatory red light camera cash registers are being upheld in some cities - with no authorizing state law.


Red light cameras are profitable for the camera companies and their business-partner cities ONLY when the engineering of the lights is deliberately done improperly for the purpose of creating split-second violations that would not occur with correct engineering.  The most common scam is setting the yellow intervals just a bit too short for the actual approach speeds of vehicles, and as little as one-half second too short is the basis of a very profitable multi-million dollar scam in a big city with many cameras.


Red light cameras also often raise the total accident rates, but the camera companies and their business-partner cities don't care a whit about causing the higher accident rates, so long as the predatory money-grab revenue keeps rolling in.  See the science on our website.


Red light cameras need to be banned in every state, as they are already in some states. Then cities will have no financial temptations to mis-engineer their traffic lights to create huge revenue streams that often come at the cost of higher accident rates.


James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

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