City

Monroe Rejects Red-Light Camera Ban as National Group Praises Cameras

By Erica C. Barnett June 22, 2011

On the heels of an unequivocal statement by the US Conference of Mayors supporting the use of red-light cameras to reduce traffic accidents at intersections, the city of Monroe's city council voted yesterday to keep the cameras, saying that to ditch them would be a violation of the city's contract with the company that makes the cameras.

In a statement last night, anti-camera crusader and initiative hawker Tim Eyman accused the council of caring only about the revenues they get from red-light cameras, and not about "the people." Eyman collected 1,100 valid signatures to put the use of the cameras to a public vote in the city.

"It is simply paternalistic and condescending to prevent a vote because of concern that the people will vote 'wrong,'" Eyman said, predicting that the case will end up in court and that the city will lose.  "We have no problem with Monroe's officials encouraging people to vote against the initiative, but we take great offense with them preventing the people from voting to 'protect' them from themselves."

In their resolution (PDF; p. 189), the US Conference of Mayors cited data showing that red-light cameras could have saved more than 815 lives (on top of the 159 they did save) in if they were installed in large US cities; that more people are injured in crashes involving red-light running than in any other crash type, costing the US $14 billion annually; and that running red lights is the leading cause of urban crashes.
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