DENVER -- The Denver City Council took the first step Monday night to expand the red light and photo radar speed camera program in the city.
Traffic violators have paid more than $34 million to the city as a result of the program.
The Denver City Council gave initial approval to plans to extend the contact with the vendor by six months so city officials can examine the programs. The final vote on the measure will take place later.
The city issued 194,628 citations last year alone.
Denver, Boulder and Ft. Collins are the only counties in the state currently using photo radar speed cameras. At least 10 counties in Colorado are using the red light camera system, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
According to denvergov.org the speed vans are in areas where the speed limit is 35 mph or less. These are usually on streets near parks, and in school, safety and work zones.
So far, there are only four intersections with red-light cameras in the Denver Metro area, these locations are:
- 6th & Kalamath E/B
- 6th & Lincoln E/B
- 8th & Speer W/B
- 36th & Quebec N/B
In Colorado, one of these citations does not give the violator points or show up on their driving record, according to IIHS.
Other cities have installed more cameras than Denver, such as Aurora which has 14 red light cameras at different intersections.
Some states have even stricter fines for these photo violations.
Opinions on the cameras are mixed. Some feel they are merely a funding grab for the city, whereas others say they offer real safety benefits.
This past year lawmakers tried to ban red light cameras. The legislation failed.
“These photo red light cameras and photo radars have helped to reduce accidents,” said Denver Mayor Michael Hancock Monday in an interview in April.
According to Hancock, accidents have dropped 40 percent at the busy intersection of 6th Avenue and Speer Boulevard since red light cameras were installed; and the employment of cameras has allowed Denver’s police department to stretch an already thin force to cover more of the city.