Colorado Lawmakers Consider Ban Of Red-Light Cameras

DENVER (AP) — Republican lawmakers want to ban red-light cameras in Colorado, saying municipalities are using them as revenue boosters that do little for traffic safety.

A bill introduced this week would prohibit cities and towns from using the automated traffic enforcement devices on streets or highways, joining several other states that have done so already. There’s dispute over whether cameras that capture speeding would also be banned.

“I think when you look at the role of government within this, we should be about safety and not about generating revenue,” Weld County Republican Sen. Scott Renfroe, the sponsor of the bill, said Friday. “And I think the data is really starting to fall out that red-light cameras are more of a revenue source than increase of safety.”

The Colorado Municipal League, which represents more than 250 communities in the state, opposes the proposed legislation, saying municipalities should decide own their own what to do about red-light cameras.

Colorado Springs recently decided to eliminate its red-light program. Officials said the program did not meet safety expectations and that the three employees assigned to it were needed elsewhere.

“And that’s good. That’s a local decision,” said Mark Radtke, CML’s legislative advocate.

In Denver, the city council recently discussed concerns about the program from drivers who complained they were being unfairly ticketed. The drivers said they were being ticketed for stopping past white crosswalk lines. A city audit showed that programming the cameras to catch drivers who stopped past the white line resulted in an increase of more than 400 percent in revenues.

Renfroe said his intention is to ban only the red-light cameras, but Radtke said the bill also strikes the language that allows municipalities to use cameras for speeding.

Radtke said Fort Collins has successfully used speeding cameras to increase compliance. But Renfroe said he didn’t think that told the whole story.

“I think they’re hiding behind the safety issue so they can collect the revenue,” he said.

The bill would still allow the use of cameras on toll roads and highways to assess charges.

Renfroe argued that municipalities should consider modifying their traffic lights so that yellow lights longer, something he says research has shown improves safety.

Nine states have passed laws banning the use of photo traffic enforcement, including Arkansas, Montana, New Jersey and Wisconsin, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. NCSL said that more than 400 communities in the country use red-light cameras.

Republican Sen. Kevin Grantham, who represents rural southern Colorado, said having the automated traffic enforcement is unnecessary.

“Ultimately, I think it infringes upon our rights and our privacy. Just a little a bit too much `Big Brother.’ Bottom line,” he said.

By Ivan Moreno, AP Writer (© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • Sheilah Davis

    If the Colorado Municipal League wants this to be a local decision, why not leave it up to the citizens? I promise you, if Red LIght Cameras ever came to a vote – they’d be run out of town! They’ve never survived a vote of the people!

  • James C. Walker

    Red light cameras are 99.99% about profits and maybe as much as 00.01% about safety. If the yellow intervals were timed for the ACTUAL 85th percentile approach speeds to minimize violations and maximize safety, the cameras would NEVER be installed in the first place. They would not record enough violations to even pay their basic operational costs. Red light cameras REQUIRE deliberate mis-engineering of the lights to be profitable. See the science on our website. James C. Walker, National Motorists Association,, Ann Arbor, MI

  • James C. Walker

    Every Colorado citizen who cares about traffic safety and fairness in enforcement should contact their state legislators to ask that this bill be passed to prohibit municipalities from using photo enforcement. Then those municipalities would have no choice but to engineer for maximum safety and minimum violations at red lights. People all over the USA and Canada are learning the truth about photo enforcement – that it is a revenue system, NOT a safety system. Many cities have dumped their predatory cameras in response to intense public pressure, including Los Angeles, Houston, Albuquerque and many others. It is a dying industry because it is a scam. Jim Walker, NMA

  • Travis John It is because of people like this that red light cameras are necessary. However, I think a police officer who was paying attention would be 100% more effective at stopping this sort of behavior. It is beyond stupid to run a red light, it shows now common sense and a disregard for the lives and property of others on the roads.

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