The Missouri Supreme Court announced today that it will review the Tupper vs. City of St. Louis red light safety camera case.
Red light safety cameras are in place and operating in municipalities across the country. The question is not whether the cameras will operate in Missouri, but rather, how they are operated administratively.
"We are grateful the Missouri Supreme Court will provide us the guidance to properly enforce our red light safety camera ordinance," said Deputy City Counselor Michael Garvin. "Conflicting Missouri Court of Appeals rulings have led to confusion on the proper enforcement of red light cameras. We are pleased the Supreme Court is willing to clarify the situation."
The City of St. Louis' red light safety camera program has been a very effective safety tool. Red light running has gone down significantly in intersections with cameras. Between May 2007 and November 2013, the number of citations issued decreased by 63 percent.
The low recidivism rate is more evidence of the cameras' effectiveness. Eighty-Four percent of red light runners, who are cited and pay the fine for violating the City's red light camera safety ordinance, do not get a second ticket.
"I believe that the cameras are a valuable public safety tool," said St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief Sam Dotson. "Red light safety cameras have saved lives, reduced crashes and improved driving behavior in St. Louis and across the state."
Cities put up traffic signals to prevent crashes and to keep traffic moving smoothly. Not enforcing them would defeat the purpose of having them. Chief Dotson would rather not divert police officers from patrolling neighborhoods and fighting crime. So, red light safety cameras make sense for the City.
Red light safety cameras also serve as an additional tool to help solve crimes. In the spring of 2012, a deadly crash caught on tape by a red light safety camera helped police and prosecutors solve an outstanding murder case. There have been more than 150 occasions in which police have requested video from the red light safety cameras to assist in investigations.
Office of the Mayor
Metropolitan St. Louis Police Department