The Missouri Supreme Court has stricken down ordinances governing red-light cameras. The high court says the way Kansas City, St. Louis and other cities had been handling red-light camera tickets conflicted with state law and is invalid. The Supreme Court didn’t rule specifically on the legality of the cameras themselves, leaving open the possibility that municipalities can enact red-light camera ordinances that will withstand future legal challenges.
Some Missouri cities argued that the red light cameras improved public safety and critics said the city programs don’t follow state law.
After the Supreme Court ruling, the city of St. Louis announced that it has stopped issuing red-light tickets and dismissed all pending cases. People who paid such tickets in the past year-and-a-half can expect refunds. St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay supports traffic cameras as a deterrent and is working on an ordinance that will comply with the court’s rulings.
A red light program began in Kansas City in 2009, but the city suspended use of cameras for traffic violations in November 2013, to receive clarity from the Missouri Supreme Court. Kansas City’s ordinance treated red-light camera violations like a parking ticket and assessed no points.
An effort to put a measure on the August 2016 ballot to ban red-light cameras in Missouri was voted down in this year’s legislative session.