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Louisiana City to Vote on Banning Speed Cameras

March 26, 2009

Louisiana City to Vote on Banning Speed Cameras
A special election will be held in Sulphur, Louisiana allowing voters to decide whether to ban photo radar.

Mike KoonceVoters in Sulphur, Louisiana will decide next week whether to boot speed cameras from the city. A petition drive led by City Councilman Mike Koonce succeeded in calling the special election to put the question before voters on Saturday, April 4.

“Shall Ordinance No. 873, M-C Series adopting automated speed enforcement for the City of Sulphur, Louisiana, be repealed?” the ballot measure states.

If a majority of voters say yes, then the Ford Escape speed camera SUV operated by Redflex Traffic Systems will be sent packing. Last September, the city council had voted 3-2 to hire Redflex to issue speeding tickets on local roads to drivers accused of exceeding the limit by as little as 4 MPH. Redflex mails the owner of any photographed vehicle a fine that can cost as much as $350. Redflex keeps up to $32.75 for every ticket the company is able to issue.

Koonce spoke out at every city council meeting in opposition to the mayor’s effort to outsource traffic enforcement to the Australian ticketing firm. According to Koonce, the decision was one that the public should make. Koonce collected 1369 signatures by the deadline to make the ballot, more than the required ten percent of registered voters. The city council will meet again on April 13 to declare the result of the special election.

Motorists around the country fed up with photo enforcement have turned to petitions to overturn the decisions of elected representatives. The largest effort is underway in the state of Arizona where the group Chillicothe and Toledo, Ohio. Once on the ballot, the bans have a long history of passing by significant margins. Most recently, Cincinnati and Steubenville, Ohio voted to ban speed and red light cameras. Between 1991 and 1997, voters in Batavia, Illinois; Peoria, Arizona and Anchorage, Alaska rejected photo radar.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Jonathan STeen permalink
    March 31, 2009 11:28 am

    Why allow the enactment of big brother-type tactics when there are more effective alternatives? A review of the research on traffic calming solutions indicate that speed cameras may actually INCREASE rear-end collisions. stopspeeders.org has links to over a dozen third-party studies – many of which indicate that the most effective (and cost effective) means of slowing speeders is the use of radar speedcheck signs – those displays that tell drivers their actual speed. These signs do not take your picture or spy on you. And unlike speed bumps, they don’t increase traffic noise or impede emergency vehicles.

    We are quickly becoming complacent to big brother-type intrusions into our lives. This is particularly troubling when there are more effective alternatives available.

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