600 East Walnut
Columbia, MO 65201-4491
Yes. Nationwide, it’s estimated that more than 9,000 crashes are caused annually by motorists who run red lights. In 2008, Columbia Police issued more than 300 citations for violations of traffic signals and stop signs. Those drivers put themselves and others at risk of property damage, injury and even loss of life.
Photo red light enforcement has been used in the United States for more than 15 years and in Europe for nearly 30 years. Systems are used in the United States in more than 160 communities in 25 states.
During “AMBER Alerts” used to locate missing children, the red light cameras in Columbia can be switched to search for wanted or suspect vehicles.
Studies indicate a substantial decrease in the severity of traffic crashes at intersections and on roadways where traffic enforcement cameras are installed. Organizations such as the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety have information available on this subject.
Cameras have been placed at two of the city’s busiest intersections: Broadway and Providence Road, and Stadium Boulevard at Worley Street. Plans call for a total of 16 cameras at various intersections in the coming months.
Signs will be posted at intersections with a camera, warning drivers that photo enforcement is in use.
Red light cameras continuously monitor the traffic signals where they’re placed. The camera triggers only when a vehicle enters the intersection after the signal has turned red. The camera records the date and time of the violation, time elapsed since the beginning of the red signal, vehicle speed, vehicle images before and after the violation, license plate and driver’s face.
Trained Columbia Police staff members will review all photographs and videos from the red light cameras, approving citations only when it’s clear that the vehicle entered the intersection on a red light. The vehicle’s registered owner will receive the citation by mail and may view photographs and video of the violation online. A driver who views this evidence and believes that the ticket was issued in error must appear in court on the arraignment date provided in the citation.
Violators will receive four digital images in the citation: two of the vehicle before and after the violation; one of the license plate; and one of the driver’s face. The citation will include the date and time of the violation, time elapsed since the beginning of the red signal and vehicle speed. Also included in the citation will be instructions for viewing a video clip online, using a password, and a court date and time for the arraignment hearing.
The Municipal Court may punish a red light violation by a fine from $1.00 - $500; a maximum prison sentence of three months; or a combination of the two. If the violation does not involve an accident, the driver may plead guilty and pay a total fine and court costs of $120 through the City Traffic Violations Bureau. An online payment option is available.
Pursuant to Missouri law, the City of Columbia Municipal Court must report all convictions of moving violations to the Missouri Department of Revenue within seven days.
There is no cost to our community for installing, operating or maintaining the system. The entire program will be funded by the fines paid by violators.
Absolutely not. Red light cameras will help keep our roads safer and let Columbia Police officers spend their time protecting citizens in other ways. Red light camera systems have been shown to reduce red-light violations and the severity of intersection crashes.
Enforcement in urban areas by traditional means creates special difficulties for Police. In most cases, they must follow a vehicle through a red light to stop it for the violation. This can endanger motorists, pedestrians and officers. Police cannot be everywhere at one time. Communities do not have the resources to allow Police to patrol intersections and roadways as often as needed to ticket all motorists who run red lights.
A trained Columbia Police staff member will review all of the violations before approving citations. The Police staff members will only approve citations where it is clear that the vehicle entered the intersection on a red light.
The citation is mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle. Section 14.466.1 of the City of Columbia Code of Ordinances establishes a “…a rebuttable presumption that the owner of a motor vehicle shown by an automated traffic control system record to have been operated in violation of Sec. 14-466 was the operator of the vehicle at the time and place where the violation was recorded by the automated traffic control system.”
Pursuant to Section 14-466.1, the registered owner may present this information to the Court by submitting an affidavit.