• Mar 16, 2006

A Minneapolis, Minnesota area judge has given red-light cameras a taste of their own medicine. Hennepin County District Judge Mark Wernick has put the red light on the county's automated traffic signal cameras installed this past July.

The judge found legal fault with the county’s ‘Stop On Red’ program, which (like virtually all red-light camera programs) tickets the owners of the offending vehicles, not the drivers themselves. As Minnesota state laws put the responsibility for light violations on the driver, Wernick threw out the challenging ticket, saying that Minneapolis lacks the authority to make law an ordinance that would hold vehicle owners responsible.

The motorist who brought the case to court was represented by an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) volunteer attorney, Howard Bass, who argued that the ordinance was unconstitutional, though Judge Wernick didn’t comment on that facet of their case.

The city is mulling whether to appeal the decision, but the case could set an important legal precident nationwide, as it is estimated that as many as 160 other cities employ red light cameras.

[Source: Associated Press via KMSP Fox 9 News]

(Top tip, Jenni!)



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  • 13 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      At last a win for the common man. It's bad enough with all the other snooping the government does, at least you won't have to prove your *s*ole son was driving your car.
      • 8 Years Ago
      " Apparently none of the previous posts have been hit by someone running a red light. "

      -What part of "it broke state law" are you not understanding?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Ryan (#10 & 11) Don't get me wrong, I think the government micromanages us to death, but the cameras are an easy way to police intersections without using a lot of manpower. I think the intention is correct, maybe the means which it is being carried out needs to be adjusted. Secondly, there is no responsibility anymore. The only reason this post is here, was because someone broke the law (ran a light), but a found a loop hole. Doesn't matter that the person ran a light, just that he can weasel his way out.
      • 8 Years Ago
      How are red light cameras possibly "snooping" or an "invasion of privacy?" You (or at least your car) are in full public view and chose to break the law, how is it different if you are caught by a cop vs. a black box with a camera? The fact that someone else could be driving your car seems like a problem with the system that should be fixed, not a reason to shut it down. If you lent the car to someone and they get a ticket, they should be able to claim full responsibility (if they aren't willing to, you lent your car to a jerk!).

      Normally I'm a bleeding heart liberal who detests things like warrantless domestic spying, but this is way too basic - if you broke the law and got nailed, suck it up.
      • 8 Years Ago
      This is pretty clear cut. If your vehicle is caught, on camera, running a light, you should pay the fine. My issue is that cops give you a ticket for running a light and you say you didn't. You can go to court but how would you fight that? It's their (the cops) word against yours. At least if it's on camera you can't say you didn't run the light. I'm tired of end of the month cops giving tickets. It's so obvious. They pull you over, and tell you that you ran the light. You have no recourse. I've even had them wait several blocks to pull me over. Why? This is just one more case of pitting the public against the police. The law should be black and white. With a camera, it is.
      • 8 Years Ago
      DOWN WITH THE CAMERAS, CAMERAS DON'T STOP ACCIDENTS... IF YOU TRULY WANT TO MAKE THE ROADS SAFER, LOWER THE SPEED LIMIT, OUTLAW CELL PHONES, PROHIBIT DRINKING AT ALL WHILE DRIVING, ZERO DRINK TOLERANCE. PROMOTE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION TO TAKE SOME OF THESE CARS OFF THE ROAD. LESS DRIVERS, LESS ACCIDENTS. BUT THEN, WHAT THE WOULD THE AUTO INDUSTRY DO? AGAINS, IS ALL ABOUT MONEY
      • 8 Years Ago
      Abouttime some judge did what was right these things are just put up to make money for the city , state, and county. Put cops on the roads and get the real speeders.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I see you guys wrap your arguments in nice libertarian thought, but the end is you wan't the roads to stay generally as they are. That's a problem because of the utterly rediculous amount of people who DIE on our roads. It is rediculous. Longer yellows are a good idea (and I know some are longer in my area). But we also have to get those who knowingly and intentionally run reds.

      There were more than 200,000 crashes caused by red light runners, resulting in 176,000 injuries and 934 deaths in 2003. All totally preventable; this isn't cancer.

      Red light running is just unacceptable if you ask me, I'm all for the cameras. If the camera's don't stop the runners, fine. The money can help pay the police, firemen and paramedics that have to clean up after selfish idiots.
      • 8 Years Ago
      AS I TRIED TO SAY BEFORE, WE DON'T NEED CAMERAS ON INTERSECTION, FOR THE SAME REASON WE DON'T NEED THEM INSIDE OUR HOMES. IF WE START IN PUBLIC ACCESS PLACES, NEXT THING WE KNOW WE MIGHT HAVE THEM INSIDE OUR HOMES. MAKING SURE THAT WE DON'T BREAK THE LAW THERE EITHER. iT REEKS TOO MUCH OF BIG BROTHER WATCHFULNES.
      I HAPPEN TO THINK THAT IT IS MORE ABOUT GATHERING REVENUE THAN ABOUT SAFETY. IF WERE CONCERNED ABOUT SAFETY, WHY DON'T WE LOWER THE SPEED LIMIT. NOW, THAT WOULD SAVE A LOT OF LIVES, WOULDN'T IT. iF WE WERE REALLY CONCERNED ABOUT SAFETY AND SAVING LIVES, WE WOULD CLOSE ALL BARS AND OTHER DRINKING PLACES. We would stop ALL sales of ALCOHOL PRODUCTS. Now, THAT, too would save alot of lives and other unnecessary suffering since the majority of accidents seem to be caused by people that have some level of alcohol in their blood. BUT THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN. AGAIN, IT'S A MONEY THING.
      • 8 Years Ago
      ". Apparently none of the previous posts have been hit by someone running a red light. Is it so bad to augment the police with cameras? It allows the police to spend their time fighting gangs, drug abuse and other more importnat issues than traffic violations. There is a simple solution, don't let you a**hole son drive the car if he is going to run lights and obey the laws yourself"

      -Wow, someone loves government, just keep believing all that spoon fed crap.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "Apparently none of the previous posts have been hit by someone running a red light. Is it so bad to augment the police with cameras? It allows the police to spend their time fighting gangs, drug abuse and other more importnat issues than traffic violations. There is a simple solution, don't let you a**hole son drive the car if he is going to run lights and obey the laws yourself."

      I've read various articles (e.g. Car and Driver's editor articles) that have pointed out the red light cameras have actually causes MORE accidents, mainly from people lighting up the brakes to avoid the red light. Not to mention that red light cameras never go where the most accidents occurr, but where they are deemed most profitable.

      I have experienced this first hand in California where I was following a car and when the light turned yellow the driver I was following slammed the brakes so hard it left tread marks. Forget the fact that both of us would have still made the light, lets panic stop instead. Luckily, I was far enough back not to hit the car, but it was close.

      So why stop at Red Light Cameras? How about little sensors on our cars that immediately write up a speeding ticket when you hit 66 in a 65? Why not a sensor that tickets you the minute a tail light, brake light or tag light goes out? I mean, it's the law right?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Mike (#12) - Those are all surmountable problems with the system (even if the contractor one is appaling!). I hope that the states with darkened cameras are trying to work through the issues. As for rear end accidents going up, people in those areas would gradually learn that everyone will stop at red lights. If it took a few accidents and injuries for people to learn that, tough - again, they are breaking the law at their own peril.

      To those who think that all tickets are just for raising revenue, would you rather spend the night in the slammer for running a red light? It's that or pay a fine. You might have to sleep on a wooden bench next to a criminal, but at least then you'd know they didn't make money off you...
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