5th Circuit Court Upholds Constitutionality of New Orleans Safety Camera Ordinance

SCOTTSDALE, AZ – A federal court of appeals has ruled that New Orleans’ automated traffic enforcement system ordinance is constitutional (see Bevis v. City of New Orleans).  In doing so, the Court found the city’s interest in reducing traffic crashes outweighs the private interests of avoiding a fine.

The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision affirmed a lower court’s decision. Ruling on the class-action lawsuit brought against the city of New Orleans, the Court found the city to be within its legal bounds to issue civil citations for traffic infractions caught on camera, and that the city’s law did not violate the constitutional protection of due process. The Court reached its decision by weighing private interests against government interests, and found in favor of a city’s broad ability to safeguard the public.

In upholding the ordinance, the court wrote: “The city’s interest is to reduce the risk of road accidents. Though only a fraction of traffic violations cause an accident, the costs of even a low-speed collision can be severe, particularly if a pedestrian is struck,” the ruling states. The court continued, saying that features of the ordinance “fall comfortably within the ‘great leeway’ given to governments in ‘protect

[ing] public health and safety.’”

The court’s decision is one of several recent federal appellate court rulings upholding the legality and constitutionality of red-light and speed safety cameras. Most recently in 2011, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia held the Washington, D.C. speed safety camera program which holds violators civilly liable did not violate the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution, and the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld fine amounts for safety camera violations as well as cost-neutrality agreements between cities and vendors (see, Dixon v. District of Columbia and Todd v. City of Auburn, respectively).

Similarly, in 2010, the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the City of  Akron, Ohio law did not violate due process (Mendenhall v. City of Akron), and in 2009, the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that “no one has a fundamental right to run a red light or avoid being seen by a camera on a public street” (Idris v. City of Chicago).

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: New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Fort Worth, Kansas City, Memphis, Nassau County (N.Y.), New York City, Orlando, Philadelphia, Seattle and St. Louis. For more information, please visit: dev.www.atsol.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.

June 12th, 2012|