Mayor Tishaura O. Jones, Joined by President Megan Green, Alderman Shane Cohn, and Safe Streets Advocates, Announces New Effort to Implement Automated Traffic Enforcement in St. Louis

The effort is a part of the St. Louis Safer Streets initiative, which aims to improve street and pedestrian safety.

September 18, 2023 | 2 min reading time

Today, Mayor Tishaura O. Jones, joined by Board of Aldermen President Megan Green, Ald. Shane Cohn (3), and St. Mary’s Southside Catholic High School President Mike England, with Trailnet and members of the Community Mobility Committee in attendance, announced new legislation to bring automated traffic enforcement to St. Louis to make streets safer for all ages and abilities. The effort is a part of the St. Louis Safer Streets initiative, which aims to improve street and pedestrian safety through the six E’s of traffic safety: engineering, enforcement, education, evaluation, equity, and encouragement.

“From engineering on our streets to enhancing enforcement, St. Louis is working to make our city safer no matter how you choose to get around, across ages and abilities,” said Mayor Tishaura O. Jones. “Automated traffic enforcement is a proven, effective tool used by hundreds of municipalities across the country to hold drivers accountable and improve safety on our streets. These programs save police time and resources while reducing contact between residents and officers.”

Highlights of the legislation include:

  • Directing all fine revenue to infrastructure, driver education, and program administration
  • Consistent evaluation and data analysis to ensure communities of color do not face a disproportionate amount of fines and fees
  • Ensuring due process to fit the criteria outlined by the Missouri Supreme Court while protecting privacy rights

“Tools like automated traffic enforcement help us identify reckless drivers and modify that behavior by creating personal accountability,” said President Green. “Putting reckless drivers through driver’s education courses is a much needed step in changing how our residents drive in the city.”

SLMPD has conducted more than 20,000 traffic stops so far this year, and studies show how automated traffic enforcement improves street safety when deployed effectively. Approximately 330 communities across 22 states have used automated traffic enforcement systems (red light and speed cameras) to discourage dangerous driving. Northwestern University’s 2017 study of Chicago’s automated traffic enforcement system found “significant safety benefits” as well as a “spillover effect” that discouraged red light running outside of targeted corridors. A 2017 study of New York City’s system showed that only 19 percent of offenders received more than one violation.

Unsafe driving and pedestrian deaths have spiked in recent years during the COVID-19 pandemic, an increase of 10.5% nationally in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2021 from 2020. The Governor’s Highway Safety Association estimates every day, 20 people across the country are killed by a moving vehicle, and pedestrian deaths are at a 40-year high nationally. So far in St. Louis this year, 27 people have died in car crashes, and four pedestrians have died walking on our city streets. Dangerous drivers have injured 134 pedestrians and 34 cyclists to date.

“The move to bring automated traffic enforcement to St. Louis comes on the heels of the largest investment in roads and pedestrian safety in decades,” said Ald. Cohn. “This spring, Mayor Jones signed BB120, investing $40 million to deploy safety measures at 10 hotspot intersections, implement traffic studies, repave and redesign major thoroughfares - Union, Kingshighway, Jefferson, Grand, and Goodfellow - as well as repair sidewalks. This effort to enhance enforcement is part of our commitment to improve street safety for all St. Louis families.”

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