St. Louis Public Radio News
5:56 pm
Tue September 21, 2010

Red-light cameras may have face-recognition in Jefferson County

ST. LOUIS – The Jefferson County Board of Executives wants to change the way that possible red light camera violations would be enforced in unincorporated areas of the county.

Red light camera tickets are traditionally sent to the car owner, whether or not that person was driving the car at the time. The three-person board wants to add facial recognition software that would check red light photos against registered vehicle owners.

County executive Chuck Banks is opposed to the change, and said that the county will miss out on prosecuting a number of lawbreakers.

"But it's really about safety, and worse comes to worse we can send the owner of the vehicle a warning that here's your car and it's breaking the law and if you do it it's going to be a ticket, you need to take necessary action to prevent this from happening," Banks said.

Controversy surrounding red light cameras in Missouri cities is nothing new. A lawsuit filed in the city of Arnold last year claimed that the cameras violate drivers' rights, but the court ruled against the plaintiff.

The city of Springfield has suspended its use of the cameras after losing a similar suit in which evidence gathered by a red light cameras was used to give a driver a ticket.

Red light cameras are currently not authorized in Jefferson County itself. The earliest the ordinance could go into effect would be December.