Representative has unique view of red light cameras

House gives initial approval to bill restriction red light cameras

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - State lawmakers were one step closer to putting limits on controversial red light cameras Wednesday.

House Bill 1557 would ensure that drivers caught running one of the monitored red lights would not get points on their license with the ticket.

There have been no state guidelines for the cameras to come out of Jefferson City yet. But courts in Missouri have acted recently, one ruling the cameras violate state law.

Shortly after deciding to ticket the registration holder of a red light violater instead of require photo identification, the city of Columbia took its cameras down. City leaders said at the time they were waiting to see what the courts decided.

Supporters of HB 1557 said Wednesday it provided guidance for cities that wished to put up red light cameras.

"The bill isn't a prohibition," said St. Louis City Democratic representative Mike Colona. "What's in the bill is a statement that says red light cameras cannot solely be used to determine either a) liability for an accident or b) whether or not for point purposes you actually ran the light."

Colona found a unique way to use the red light cameras in St. Louis last week, when he and Rep. Michelle Kratzky were carpooling to the Capitol.

A driver at the intersection of Jameson and Chippewa ran a red light and hit the side of Colona's car - and it was all caught on the camera.

"The insurance company for the gentlemen in the silver truck that hit me denied liability, saying I ran the red light," Colona told ABC 17 News.

When Colona showed that driver's insurance company the footage, they apologized.

Colona said he supported the new restrictions proposed for the red light cameras, even though many Missourians disliked them in general.

"We actually now have a scheme to protect you," he said. "To make sure you don't get points assessed, to make sure you were the one driving your car."

Opponents of the House bill argued that not assigning points to a ticket would keep dangerous drivers on the roads. Others argued the bill was more regulation on cities and businesses.

House Bill 1557 will need a final floor vote in the House before it moves to the Senate.

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