Red-light cameras could make a comeback in Minn.


A bill introduced in the Minnesota House and Senate this week would bring back automated stop light enforcement cameras to catch red-light runners, KARE 11 reports.

The cameras capture images of vehicles that go through red lights. Police can use the photos to identify the offender and issue a ticket by mail.

The city of Minneapolis used the cameras in 2005 and 2006, but the practice was struck down by the Minnesota Supreme Court after it ruled that a photo of a license plate alone does not prove the owner of the car was behind the wheel.

As one Georgia lawmaker put it: "it's like convicting a gun for murder."

One of the authors, Rep. Alice Hausman, DFL-St. Paul, tells KARE 11 she will amend the bill to suggest the camera has to capture the face of the driver.

Red-light cameras are authorized in 25 states, including Iowa and South Dakota. They're banned in at least 10 states, including Wisconsin.

The measure is intended to prevent serious accidents and increase revenue for cities, but some say the cameras are considered to be a Big Brother danger to the public.

"I think part of the objection is the collection, possible sharing of that kind of information, but also I think it just goes against a grain of how Minnesota believes in privacy for its citizens," Rich Neumeister, a longtime citizen lobbyist at the State Capitol on the issue of data privacy, tells KARE.

The Minnesota Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union also intends to lobby against the proposed legislation, MPR reports.

Executive Director Chuck Samuelson says the practice becomes problematic in the event that the owner of the vehicle isn't the person driving the car, it won't always be crystal clear who is at the wheel by snapping images of a moving vehicle.

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