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St. Louis City Counselor: Don't Like Red Light Cameras? Don't Drive.

redlightcameranew.jpg
Ben Schuman on Flickr
Don't like stopping at red lights? Please don't drive, says St. Louis' city counselor.
The Missouri Court of Appeals struck down a red-light-camera ordinance in St. Louis County this week, leading St. Louis City residents to wonder what it means for them.

Patricia Hageman, the city's counselor, summed it up in a tweet as impressive for its brevity as it is for its snark:


See also: Missouri Court Rules Ellisville Red Light Cameras Violate State Law

St. Louis' red light cameras are still operational and will likely not be as affected by the court's ruling as cities like Ellisville, Kansas City, Creve Coeur and Hazelwood since those cities punish the owners, not the drivers, of cars that run red lights.

"If you get receive a red-light-camera ticket in the city of St. Louis, then you need to pay it or contest it in court," says city spokeswoman Maggie Crane.

redlightcamera1.jpg
Sylvar on Flickr
Last week's ruling conflicts with previous court rulings about how red-light-camera programs should work in Missouri, and officials expect one of those cases will eventually make it up to the Missouri Supreme Court for clarification.

Since St. Louis started a red-light-camera program, violations at camera intersections have gone down by nearly two-thirds, Crane says.

Read Crane's full statement after the jump.


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60 comments
john.mo1987
john.mo1987

I'm missing 2 hours of work Friday to go to court only to point out that my YELLOW LIGHT WAS SHORTER THEN THE NATIONAL STANDARD SET BY THE MANUAL ON TRAFFIC CONTROL DEVICES. 2.9 SECOND YELLOW LIGHT IN A 35mph ZONE...SHOULD BE 3.5 SECONDS. THEY DO NOT CARE ABOUT SAFETY. THEY CARE ABOUT $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$!

donaldson1
donaldson1

http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/40/4078.asp

California: Firm Rigs Data In Bid To Keep Red Light Cameras
Analyst debunks claim that red light running increased in Murrieta, California when red light cameras were turned off.

Ever since November when voters in Murrieta, California rejected red light cameras at the ballot box, American Traffic Solutions (ATS) has been on a campaign to turn them back on. The strategy has been two-fold: use the courts to overturn the public's decision, then convince the city council to reactivate the devices in the name of public safety. Anti-camera activists say they have caught the photo ticketing company manipulating data to achieve these ends.

On April 5, Riverside County Superior Court Judge Daniel A. Ottolia signed a writ of mandate prohibiting Murrieta from implementing the anti-camera ballot measure. Ottolia is the same judge who attempted to block the public vote on August 3 (view ruling), only to be shot down by the Court of Appeal. To prevent the case from returning to the appellate judges, an ATS front group filed a separate suit against the city of Murrieta, which supports cameras, demanding the referendum be set aside. Despite the lack of an actual controversy between the parties, Ottolia issued his ruling accomplishing the goals of both ATS and the city.

Now it is up to the Murrieta City Council to decide whether to take the politically risky move of re-activating the red light cameras, which are no longer under contract. To sway council members, ATS issued a press release on Thursday with the bold claim that Murrieta's red light cameras recorded "nearly double the number" of "red light running events" after the cameras were turned off in comparison to the number of incidents when the cameras were active. According to ATS, there were 201 incidents in January 2012 compared to 506 a year later. In February, 251 incidents with cameras increased to 514 without cameras. In March, 397 with cameras rose to 730 without cameras.

"With cameras operational, drivers changed their behavior," ATS spokesman Charles Territo said in the statement. "This data shows just how much of a red-light running deterrent they were for drivers in Murrieta."

Safer Streets LA Executive Director Jay Beeber says the company is trying to pull a fast one. Beeber pulled the actual data from the city which showed ATS was taking its 2012 figures from a category called "Violations Citable." This does not represent the raw number of incidents. Rather, it is the number submitted to the city after an ATS employee has gone through and discarded images that are unclear and that otherwise cannot be turned into a citation. In February 2012, 263 such tickets were thrown out, meaning there were a total of 514 "Violations Recorded" in 2012 -- exactly the same number as recorded without the cameras in 2013.

Territo told the San Diego Union-Tribune on Monday that the photographic element of the camera system is shut down and the "violations" number comes solely from sensors. No employee has reviewed any images. Had ATS used the equivalent comparison of "Violations Recorded" in 2012 to 2013, the numbers work out to essentially a wash.

"One month was higher, one was lower, and one was exactly the same," Beeber explained. "The small differences could easily be due to random fluctuations or differences in traffic volume."

Anti-camera activists hope the company's effort to influence the city council with questionable numbers backfires.

"It is only through blatant deception that ATS is able to come up with their fraudulent 86.9 percent increase," Beeber said. "Make no mistake, this is not some accounting error on the part of ATS. It is obviously a deliberate attempt to deceive and we need to let the press know exactly what ATS is doing or they will take their bogus numbers and print the story without any fact checking."

Bonnie Trunfio Boze
Bonnie Trunfio Boze

So does this mean I can throw away my 2 redlight tickets from Creve Coeur Vanessa Villines Mattingly ?? :)

Michael Tatalovich
Michael Tatalovich

I will just not go there! My money will be spent somewhere else.

Matt Hay
Matt Hay

If you do not want a lawsuit, do not install systems which bastardize state statute to make a Goldman Sachs Private Equity owned firm a boatload of money.

Matt Hay
Matt Hay

Or those that care about restraining municipalities preying on the poor and the ignorant of the law to balance their budgets (and no, I have never been caught by these scameras, but am still concerned about the perversion of law and unchecked power, especially when Joyce Aboussie makes almost a 10% cut as a "consultant") Not to mention, all peer reviewed academic studies on these systems have shown that increase accidents. The only studies which show decreases are those commissioned by the scamera vendors themselves.

June Bugg
June Bugg

Take it to trial¿ That's too easy huh?

Donna Torchwood
Donna Torchwood

Only time I wish I was a sharp shooter with a bazooka.

southcityresident
southcityresident

Why did you feel the need to deliberately misquote Hagemen in the headline?  She did not say if you don't like redlight cameras don't drive.  She said if you don't like stopping at redlights don't drive.  There's a HUGE difference.  I don't like redlight cameras but I do stop at red lights.  I prefer that people stop at red lights.  Especially if me or a person I know happens to be in the intersection at the time.  I don't want to have to go to the hospital or a funeral because you think red lights don't apply to you.  So please, if you think stopping at red lights is irksome, please do the rest of the drivers on the road a favor.  Take the bus, ride a bike, walk, anything just don't get behind the wheel of a car and run red lights. 

Clay Joseph Lasiter
Clay Joseph Lasiter

I never said they shouldn't. But don't try and justify one wrongdoing by way of irresponsible and dangerous driving with another wrongdoing. The only people who seem to get mad about this, are people who get caught.

Joan Reeves
Joan Reeves

Insert jumping off a bridge metaphor here.

Chris McDaniel
Chris McDaniel

Maybe in St Ann - not in STL City... absolutely NO repercussions for not paying city red light tickets.

Matt Hay
Matt Hay

How about the City just follow the law? I find it disingenuous for you to expect drivers to follow laws, but see no issue with the City violating them themselves. It is a two way street, no?

Matt Hay
Matt Hay

So, should the City of St. Louis not have to follow the law, yet us little people do? It is a two way street.

Rebekah Wedick
Rebekah Wedick

Ryan Wiley...mine was in Ellisville...where was yours?

Richard Cline
Richard Cline

Don't like lawsuits, don't install red light cameras.

Matt Hay
Matt Hay

Because she is not married to a cop, she is married to an ATS employee, so she needs the funds to continue to flow.

Zack Thatcher
Zack Thatcher

I have never understood why you have to sit at a red light when no one is around.

Matt Hay
Matt Hay

Anyone else concerned that Patti Hageman (@StlCityCounselo) is married to an ATS employee, Ed Rhode and that her "legal advice" and insolence is a blatant and fluorescent conflict of interest? She experiences a direct financial gain through her husband as a result of their continued operation. There is no use for Ed if the City shut the program down.

Matt Hay
Matt Hay

If we have to follow the law, shouldn't the City of St. Louis as well?

Matt Hay
Matt Hay

@StlCityCounselo (Patti Hageman) is married to ATS Employee, and former Slay PR guy Ed Rhode. That tells you about all you need to know. It keeps the funds flowing into her household.

Chris Ferguson
Chris Ferguson

You had best stop for 3 seconds before you make a right in red you violent criminals!

Clay Joseph Lasiter
Clay Joseph Lasiter

Everybody on here is going to hate me but, hows about you just don't run red lights? For real. Don't drive like self important assholes and you won't get tickets. My girlfriend just got one of these tickets after I warned her not to run that light, and it's her own damn fault. Just don't do it.

Lena Wheat
Lena Wheat

Actually if u don't pay them they don't go into warrants but if u get a ticket from an actual cop they wont let u pay that ticket until u pay the red light/speed camera ticket..I learned that from good ol St Ann

Jonathan Aye
Jonathan Aye

If u don't want a ticket then quit driving through red lights--it's plain & simple!

Matt Gonzales
Matt Gonzales

You don't have to pay it. The Mo. Court of Appeals found the cameras unconstitutional. Get off your high seat St. Louis..

Sharon Walker
Sharon Walker

How about we put cameras in cop cars and record their excessive speeds and bad driving... then... review it and give them tickets for all the bad driving that they do that endangers the public when there is no emergency? I see cops driving badly all the time and think....."Now, why can they get by with that and I can't?" Red light cameras, random ticketing disguised as DWI check points, and...generally living in a police state needs to stop. I live in a free country and should not have to put up with constantly seeing a cop car pointing devices at me. If the government wouldn't waste all of our hard earned tax money on wasteful spending, then, they would not have resort to such drastic measures to save the cities/counties/and states from going broke all the time. This is not about public safety....this is about money pure and simple.

Couch Pig
Couch Pig

Could they spend money on fixing the streets instead of red light cameras on lights that malfunction constantly

Denis Phillips
Denis Phillips

Really? Driving is my privilege. continuing to drive on roads that my taxes in part help by continuing to maintain them provides me a sense if ownership. Alienating yourself further from those you are supposed to represents only further fuels the epic numbers of population decreases in the city! Good luck paying pensions in 20 years! Statements like this dang SMDH

Hayek
Hayek

She needs to be held in contempt. No Red Light Camera story is complete without mentioning that Patti's husband is a gent by the name of Ed Rhode. Ed used to work for Slay, and hold on to your hat, now works for the very scamera firm, American Traffic Solutions, who is the direct beneficiary of Hageman's refusal to follow the courts order. Seems like a conflict to me given her legal "advice" is of direct pecuniary benefit to her. Seems like an unwaivable conflict of interest to me and that that should be seeking special counsel on the matter who does not have a conflict.

Joan Reeves
Joan Reeves

How about this: don't speed or run a red light. End of story.

Bob Pivoroff
Bob Pivoroff

I hate these things. I've been nailed a few times.

Randy Abrams
Randy Abrams

It's just enough to piss one off, but not enough to fight it (too much time and money to fight). If one doesn't pay, the fine may increase. If one still doesn't pay, it may go to collections, then a law suit. To the best of my knowledge, the municipality does not get much of the proceeds of the red light cameras.

billj598
billj598 topcommenter

Get BENT Bitch and move back to Soviet Union with your attitude.  You work (supposedly) for us, not the other way around.  This scuz-bag is a prime example of the attitude displayed by public servants and exactly why so many despise them ! 

Kevin Bunten
Kevin Bunten

blatant cash grab. tax revenue down? bilk the vicious criminal moms driving 40 in a 30 mph zone. driven along HW70 in St. Ann recently? i'd say it was predotory-like if not for that fact that it's utterly preditory. i'm sorry the mall's not there guys, but can you find some other income source?

Leanndra Martinez
Leanndra Martinez

How do I find out how much I owe? I've definitely seen the flash but I've never actually received a ticket in the mail. Is there a website I could go to?

Christina Coleman Corcoran
Christina Coleman Corcoran

Questions: 1) where is the more than 10 million dollars in collected fees gone? 2) what happens to the 138,000 people who haven't paid their fees?

Alex Marshall
Alex Marshall

As far as the "tickets" from red-light cameras in The City are concerned ... no points are assessed to the vehicle owner if unpaid, license registration isn't suspended, no holds or warrants are issued and the "debt" doesn't appear on the owner's credit report. Elaine Smith is spot on.

Jake Woodworth
Jake Woodworth

They send me friendly reminders with threats of a warrant every 6 weeks or so.

john.mo1987
john.mo1987

@Matt Hay I agree completely. I have court Friday only because my yellow light time was cut by .6 seconds. It's pathetic how they make it look like "safety" when there are PLENTY of studies on increasing yellow light times. Total sham.

john.mo1987
john.mo1987

@southcityresident my yellow light time was shaved by .6 seconds. It was 2.9 rather then 3.5. How many people do they do that to who don't catch it? I agree stop at red lights but when there is a CLEAR FLAW I shouldnt have to take off work to explain myself. It's about the principal that they say this is for safety when it's all about $$$. Don't be blind to alternative motives...it's their strategy

john.mo1987
john.mo1987

@Matt Hay Thank you for being intelligent. It's rare.

john.mo1987
john.mo1987

@Clay Joseph Lasiter What if they cut your yellow light time? Thats what happened to me...its dangerous my friend. Now I have to take off work to go explain why I am not guilty. Think outside the box... they just want our money.

Hayek
Hayek

Oh, and St. Louis City prosecutes the owner as well, or at least that was what they argued in Smith, so Crane's statement is directly refuted by both the ordinance and their own legal position. These folks have no shame. Someone needs to file for an emergency injunction against the City to force them to comply with the ruling immediately. Not to mention, Unverferth v Florissant, decided by the Eastern District Sept 10th clearly states that these must be prosecuted as moving violations, and reported to DoR as such, the City is not in compliance there either, and used Nottebrok as a defense for their non-compliance. Unfortunately for them, they can no longer do that given the Appellate Courts overturning of Nottebrok with the Ellisville ruling. At least Kansas City was smart enough to read the writing on the way, but in St. Louis, Aboussie, Slay, Dueker, and Dowd are making too much money of this cash hog to let it be slaughtered. 

jaco1175
jaco1175 topcommenter

@Bob Pivoroff so why do you keep running red lights like a douchebag?

Hayek
Hayek

@billj598 She works for herself. Her husband is Ed Rhode, who works for American Traffic Solutions, the scamera vendor who operates the City of St. Louis's system. It is an unwaivable conflict of interest for her to even be involved. Obviously, allowing the system to continue directly financially benefits her.

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