States debate the use of cameras at stop lightsRegional News
-- There’s been no public talk lately about letting cameras catch drivers running red lights in Wisconsin. And it appears they won’t be allowed in neighboring Minnesota any time soon.
ST. PAUL - There’s been no public talk lately about letting cameras catch drivers running red lights in Wisconsin. And it appears they won’t be allowed in neighboring Minnesota any time soon.
The Minnesota state House Transportation Policy Committee decided not to vote yesterday on a bill allowing cameras at red lights. Its chairman pulled the measure after two hours of debate, admitting to reporters that it was headed to defeat.
The red-light cameras were used in Minneapolis for a couple of years before the State Supreme Court struck down that city’s ordinance in 2007. The new bill required the cameras to identify the drivers caught running red lights. Former Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle proposed cameras in his 2009 state budget for catching red-light runners and construction zone speeders – but lawmakers later said no. Doyle only required the cameras to catch a license plate – and the vehicle’s owner would have been on the hook for a fine, even if that person wasn’t driving. Former state Assembly Democrat Marlin Schneider of Wisconsin Rapids said the measure would pass quote, “over my dead body,” saying it was nothing more than a cash-cow for cities.
Police and insurance officials said at the time that red light cameras improve safety and reduce crashes. But two Minnesota police associations don’t see it that way. They say it only creates public resentment against law enforcement – and it’s a poor substitute for the person-to-person interaction that normal traffic stops bring.