Lawmakers vote down ban on red light cameras

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DENVER — Red light cameras may be annoying, but they’re not going anywhere — at least not due to a statewide ban.

On Tuesday night, the Senate Transportation Committee effectively killed Senate Bill 50, a proposed ban on all red light cameras and photo radar vehicles across the state.

One Republican, Sen. Steve King, a former Grand Junction police officer, sided with the panel’s four Democrats in opposing the bill, which went down on a 5-2 vote.

While the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Scott Renfroe, R-Greeley, pointed to studies showing that red light cameras aren’t singly responsible for reducing accidents and fatalities at the intersections where they’re being used.

“If you increase yellow lights by one second, in one study it reduced accidents by 50 percent,” Renfroe said. “If you’re about safety, you should be looking at traffic engineering, not red light cameras.

King said he didn’t think it’s the state’s place to tell local police departments what to do — echoing representatives of several local police departments who testified against the measure.

“Through our statistics, they’ve proven to be a deterrent to running red lights,” said Charles Baker with the Commerce City Police Dept. “The number of violations have decreased.”

Only one person testified in favor of the bill, although Renfroe told the committee that he believes it has broader support.

“If this went to a vote of the people, it would pass overwhelmingly,” he said.

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