Red light cameras could require voter approval
BATON ROUGE - A state representative wants to bring red light cameras to a public vote.
Rep. Jeff Arnold of New Orleans says this is his third attempt to require voter approval prior to the imposition of civil fines for violations captured by automated traffic enforcement systems, like red light cameras.
There are 25 traffic cameras around Baton Rouge. They snap pictures of drivers running red lights and then mail violators a ticket. The camera is triggered when a vehicle enters the intersection after the light has turned red. This can include rolling over the trigger line or when a driver doesn't stop long enough for a right hand turn.
"I'm trying to make them fair, or get rid of them." said Arnold.
Baton Rouge drivers have mixed feelings when it comes to the cameras.
"It's definitely a good idea to have them there," said Kyle Hamer. "I guess it'll slow people down."
"I think if someone's going to run a red light, they're going to run a red light," said Lauren Hartley.
Some cities in California have removed red light cameras, because people stopped paying the fines. In October, East Baton Rouge extended their contract with American Traffic Solutions and are supposed to be looking at new ways to make sure people pay the fine.
Councilman Buddy Amoroso voted against the extension.
"They become less and less effective when people realize they're not a threat or that bad things don't happen when they don't pay the tickets," said Amoroso.
A study done by the Department of Public Works Traffic Engineering Division says "T-bone" crashes decreased by 40 percent at camera intersections. The study also found rear-end crashes increased by 4 percent.
This is only one bill prefiled by Rep. Arnold. House Bill 631 would require the violator to be served their ticket, instead of it being mailed.
The legislative session beings Monday.