Posted: Feb 14, 2013 10:15 AM by AP
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Traffic light cameras used to monitor and enforce red light violations in East Baton Rouge Parish will continue to be used until at least the end of the year.
The Advocate reports the Metro Council voted 8-1 Wednesday to keep the cameras in place until Dec. 31, in lieu of a request by Mayor-President Kip Holden's office to renew the camera contract with American Traffic Solutions for another five years.
John Price, assistant chief administrative officer to Holden, called the cameras the "most successful program the city has."
"The use of red light cameras is us embracing technology to provide a public service," Price said. "You don't have an officer chasing an individual through a red light, and you are able to use manpower in other places."
He also noted that the cameras do not cost the city-parish money and they have resulted in total revenue of $8.4 million since 2008. ATS takes 35 percent of red light traffic fines to cover its costs.
Several council members said earlier this week that they needed to see definitive proof the cameras were reducing vehicle collisions and improving driver safety in order for them to be able to support renewing the contract with ATS for another five years.
Price told the council Wednesday the detailed collision reports they receive from Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development were inaccurate because law enforcement officers who supply the information were not correctly inputting the locations of the accidents.
He said staff is sorting through the data over the next few months to provide accurate collision reports for the council that can illustrate whether the cameras have had an impact on driver safety.
Once council members have more information, they will be asked to consider renewing the contract for an extended time.
Ultimately, the council opted to extend the contract through the year, rather than ending the contract entirely, because the city-parish has already budgeted $1.6 million in red light fines for the Baton Rouge Police Department budget.