New contract could result in more red-light cameras in Denver



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DENVER — Denver City Council members are putting pressure on police to increase the use of red-light cameras after collecting more than $34 million in less than five years from red-light and photo-radar speed cameras.

Police and city officials cite evidence of reduced accidents and say that's the motivation behind photo traffic enforcement, not the revenue the cameras generate.

Evan Williams, who has received a number of citations, disagreed.

"I feel like they have a monopoly on people because they know it costs the victims more in time and lost pay to fight these stupid fines, and that most people will pay them because of those reasons," said Williams, who reluctantly paid an $80 speeding fine he felt was unfair. Williams, 26, said he should have been able to talk to a police officer before he got a ticket.

Other opponents say the red-light cameras can cause accidents when drivers stop suddenly to avoid getting a ticket and get rear-ended.

Several Denver City Council members told police at a recent committee meeting that they at least should consider adding more red-light cameras.

Other Colorado cities have installed more cameras than Denver. Neighboring Aurora has red-light cameras at 14 intersections.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, there are 495 U.S. cities or counties that use red-light cameras, including nearly a dozen in Colorado, and 138 communities nationwide that use photo-radar speed cameras.

Denver police employees also operate photo-radar devices in five vans that have been set up at hundreds of spots across town. State law limits that program to targeting streets with a speed limit of 35 mph or less in residential areas, bordering parks and in school or work zones.

Police estimate 65 percent of citations get paid, The Denver Post reported Sunday (http://tinyurl.com/k5kacy2).

Denver police Cmdr. Patrick Phelan said 80 percent of violators have never gotten another citation, suggesting many motorists learned from their mistakes.


Information from: The Denver Post, http://www.denverpost.com

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