Missouri Appellate Court Rejects Challenges to Red-Light Safety Cameras
Contact: Charles Territo
Title: Senior Vice President of Public Affairs
and Marketing, Communications
Phone: (480) 443-7000
SCOTTSDALE, AZ – Today’s ruling by the Missouri Court of Appeals of Eastern Missouri upholds the constitutionality of red-light safety camera programs, and affirms the City of St. Louis’ authority to regulate traffic safety as an appropriate function of the city’s police power.
The court’s decision aligns with an expanding list of rulings from federal and state courts in Missouri and across the country that find red-light safety camera programs and their enabling legislation to be constitutional.
“This ruling is consistent with prior rulings from the Missouri Court of Appeals, the Federal District Court of the Eastern District of Missouri and numerous state and Federal court rulings from across the country,” said George Hittner, ATS General Counsel and Vice President of Government Relations. “Plaintiff’s attorneys should stop filing frivolous lawsuits and instead ask their clients to obey traffic laws.”
“Today’s rulings and the ones which have come before leave no doubt,” adds Mr. Hittner, “red-light safety cameras operate in full compliance of the law for the benefit of everyone using the streets in St. Louis and communities across the country. It’s time for the critics to abandon their silly sideshow and instead recognize the legal standing and safety benefits of red-light safety cameras.”
Among the many notable court rulings that affirm the use of red-light cameras in Missouri, two decisions stand out. One is the 2009 federal ruling that found the city of Arnold’s red-light safety camera ordinance to be both legal and constitutional (see Kilper et. al. v. City of Arnold, Missouri, et al., 2009). The other, from the Eastern District Missouri Court of Appeals, upheld the city of Creve Coeur’s red-light safety camera program that treated the violation as a civil penalty and issued tickets to vehicle owners. The ruling found the city’s ordinance and program fulfilled all constitutional due process requirements (see Nottebrok v. City of Creve Coeur, Missouri, et al., 2011). Along with these significant cases, judges also struck down five class action lawsuits against red-light cameras in Missouri in 2012.
On the federal level, court rulings from the 5th, 6th, 7th and 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals further validate the legality of red-light safety cameras.
In Idris v. the City of Chicago, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the city’s practice of issuing red-light running citations to vehicle owners instead of vehicle drivers. In the same 2009 decision, the appeals court ruled that cameras did not violate a person’s constitutional due process rights because “no one has a fundamental right to run a red light or avoid being seen by a camera on a public street.”
A year later, in 2010, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s decision in finding that Akron, Ohio’s speed camera program fulfilled the due process protections provided by the Constitution. The court wrote: “As the district court found, the ordinance provides for notice of the citation, an opportunity for a hearing, provision for a record of the hearing decision, and the right to appeal an adverse decision. We agree with the district court that the ordinance and its implementation, as detailed in the stipulations, satisfy due process.”
Missouri’s first red-light safety camera program started in Arnold in 2005. Currently, more than 500 cities and counties in the United States use these camera programs. Rigorous independent studies show red-light safety cameras effectively reduce dangerous right-angle intersection collisions by changing driver behavior.
About American Traffic Solutions:
ATS is proud to be the market leader in road safety camera installations in North America. ATS has more than 3,000 installed red-light and speed safety cameras serving more than 30 million people. ATS has contracts in nearly 300 communities in 21 states and Washington, D.C., including: St. Louis, Kansas City and more than two dozen other Missouri cities. For more information, please visit: www.atsol.com or www.PlatePass.com. To view video that serves as a chilling reminder of the dangers that red-light runners present to our family and children; visit ATS on YouTube here: http://www.youtube.com/user/ATSRoadSafety.