Contact: Charles Territo
Title: Senior Vice President of Public Affairs
and Marketing, Communications
Phone: (480) 443-7000
Parties seeking Supreme Court review to resolve conflicting decisions on notice procedures
Ellisville, MO – A recent ruling by the Missouri Court of Appeals of Eastern Missouri has again upheld the constitutionality of red-light safety camera programs, and affirmed the City of Ellisville’s authority to regulate traffic safety as an appropriate function of the city’s police power. Because of conflicting rulings, The State Supreme Court must now clarify the procedures cities must use for the issuance of citations. The Court must also determine whether the Department of Revenue’s determination that automated enforcement safety camera violations do not require the assessment of points can be overturned by violator class action lawsuits.
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.
In its decision, the court stated, “We find no merit in the argument that the Ordinance’s focus on vehicle owners necessarily deprives the Ordinance of any effect on the safety of motorists traveling through such intersections and, correspondingly, on public health, safety, and welfare. Because ensuring the safe flow of traffic through an intersection “is substantially related to the health, safety, and welfare of the public,” Ellisville’s ordinance may constitute a valid exercise of its police power.”
“The issue of red-light safety camera constitutionality has finally been decided. All that is left is for the Supreme Court to offer guidance on process by which violations are enforced,” said George Hittner, American Traffic Solutions General Counsel. “We look forward to putting these issues to rest once and for all.”
Many recent court rulings have affirmed the use of red-light cameras in Missouri. At 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. In St. Louis, a recent analysis found that the average violations per camera per month had fallen by nearly sixty percent since cameras were installed in 2007.
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: 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.