Red light cameras still in limbo

Kansas City’s red-light camera ordinance change returned to the city council public safety committee, where it remained in legal limbo Wednesday.

“We will revisit it another time, hopefully next week but I can’t guarantee that,” said Councilman John Sharp, committee chairman.

Police have not used the lights for tickets since Nov. 6, after a state appeals court ruling in the St. Louis area went against them.

City officials recently prepared legal changes to counter that ruling but then the appeals court in Kansas City ruled that the city ordinance was invalid.

Both rulings state that such city laws violate state law   because points are not assessed against driver licenses for moving violations.

On Wednesday, police and Sharp made it clear that police have stepped up regular enforcement at the 17 intersections covered by red light cameras.

Sharp said people should not think the camera situation means they “can just blow through the intersection.”

He also warned officer tickets are tougher: “If an officer sees it, it is a point violation.”

And Sharp said drivers must come to a complete stop, “not one of those rolling stops.”

In other matters, Capt. Mike Woods reported police are hiring six more people to enforce parking primarily from the river to 85th Street.

On a positive note, the number of traffic fatalities stands at 53 compared to 65 at this time last year.

About 8 out of 10 of those who died in the accidents were men and 67 percent of them were not wearing seat belts, Woods said.

“A lot of these crashes would have been walk-away, non-injury accidents if the people had been wearing seat belts,” he said.

The number of rear end accidents is up, he said, probably because so many drivers are looking at cellphones, talking on them, texting or checking email or sometimes dropping them and then reaching for them.

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