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Newest Red Light Camera Starts Operating

http://ozarkspub.vo.llnwd.net/o37/KSMU/audio/mp3/newestredl_4129.mp3

Springfield's 13th red light camera is now up and running at a high traffic area of northwest Springfield. KSMU's Benjamin Fry headed down to the intersection and has our story.

(Reporter): "The traffic's pretty steady here at the intersection of Kansas Expressway and Kearney Street in northwest Springfield. I'm looking across Kearney Street right now at where the cameras are. They're mounted on these diagonal poles which are connected to vertical poles and on each pole there's what looks to be some sort of speed sensor. Now folks heading north through this intersection who decide to run red should expect a little something in the mail."

"The fine is $100," said Earl Newman, who oversees traffic engineering in Springfield's public works department.

He says along with the fine, the person would get two photographs: a closeup of their license plate, and another of the back of their car.

"If they wish to contest it, there's information on the notice as to how they file or request a court date and how they can appeal it," Newman said.

Since June of 2007, 13 red light cameras have started operating at 11 intersections across Springfield.

Newman says on average, each camera registers about one and a half violations per day.

When it comes to promoting safety, he says results from the first several cameras look promising.

"We have looked at the before and after crash statistics for the first five cameras that we've put in, and we've had a reduction in total crashes of 21%," Newman said.

Newman says it's too early to tell if respect the red at these signals will spill over to the hundreds of other stoplights in the city.

As far as expenses, Newman says the revenue from fines has been just enough to cover the cost of the cameras.

"As opposed to some cities where they seem to be running well ahead on revenues, we're not. And that's okay, because we believe the safety benefits that we're showing are certainly justified," Newman said.

Newman says the city plans to put three additional red light cameras up, but it has yet to choose the locations.

For KSMU News, I'm Benjamin Fry.