The East Baton Rouge Metro Council is set to decide whether to kill or renew Baton Rouge, La.’s red light camera program, which has been panned by detractors as unevenly enforced but is credited by supporters with reducing dangerous crashes.
The photo enforcement program began in 2008 and has generated almost 150,000 red light tickets.
There are 25 red light cameras at 17 intersections.
Mayor-President Kip Holden told The Advocate that he hopes the Metro Council will support the program because it’s improving traffic safety.
“Frankly, it’s reducing the number of crashes we’re seeing at major intersections,” Holden said.
Some Metro Council members say they’re skeptical the cameras are improving driver safety and are concerned the city-parish has failed to properly enforce red light ticket payments.
“I do not think from what I have been provided that there is any reliable safety data,” Mayor Pro Tem Chandler Loupe said. “And the failure to collect such a large portion of the citations has me concerned that the system is not being implemented as originally proposed.”
Last month, it was reported that the city-parish has yet to penalize a single red light camera offender for delinquent payments.
About 40 percent, or 59,000 tickets, have not been paid.
The city-parish can enforce the civil infractions by reporting the debt to collection agencies or credit reporting agencies, suing in small claims court or immobilizing vehicles with a boot; officials have not done so.
The penalty for running a red light is a $117 fine, with a late charge of $35. The city-parish collects 65 percent, or 55 percent if a late notice must be filed.
The remaining money goes to American Traffic Solutions, the Arizona camera vendor overseeing the program.
That means drivers owe between $6.9 million and $9 million in unpaid fines, more than half of which would go to the city-parish.