DENVER (AP/CBS4) – Colorado lawmakers advanced a measure to ban red light and photo radar cameras, but they’re facing strong opposition from local governments and police.
A Senate committee approved the measure on a bipartisan 3-2 vote Monday, referring it for a full debate in the chamber later.
The bill would forbid cities and towns from using the automated traffic enforcement devices.
The Colorado Municipal League, which represents more than 250 communities in the state, says it should be up to cities and towns to decide the matter on their own, and that the cameras are important to public safety. Several police chiefs testified in opposition of the bill also.
“Again and again I’m told people modified their behavior because of the presence of the cameras,” said Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates.
Oates is among several chiefs who testified before a committee considering the bill to ban all cameras state wide.
Oates says they have cameras at 10 intersections in Aurora an accidents have decreased 35 percent since they were installed four years ago.
Sen. Scott Renfroe, the bill’s sponsor, says drivers have the right to confront their accuser.
“You can take data and make it say what want but one thing you can’t change is the constitution and our right of due process,” said Renfroe.
He says the safety studies are mixed with some showing the cameras increase rear-end accidents.
“When we use red light cameras and we say we’re increasing safety and some of that data shows we’re not then we’re giving up our liberty,” said Renfroe.
Oates says drivers can view the video online and suggests the state is overstepping its authority.
“What’s being proposed here is imposing the will of legislature on the Aurora City Council,” said Oates.
Supporters of the bill argue the cameras are used to generate revenue, not improve public safety.
Currently nine cities in Colorado use the cameras.
LINK: Senate Bill 181
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