Lawmakers consider revival of photo cop law

Photo cop in inaction
The "Stop on Red cameras" have been quiet since a Hennepin County judge shut the program down in March 2006.
MPR Photo/Brandt Williams

Several state lawmakers are trying to revive the so-called "photo cop" law.

The law allowed police to use an automated system to ticket vehicles that were photographed running red lights.

Minneapolis used a photo cop system for several months, but the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled the law was unconstitutional in 2007. The justices said traffic laws need to be uniform throughout the state.

Sen. Linda Higgins, DFL-Minneapolis, introduced a bill this week that attempts to address the court's concerns. She said her bill would let cities around the state implement photo cop systems.

Higgins said was initially opposed to the photo cop law, but she's changed her mind. She says in the first eight months Minneapolis had the system in place, traffic accidents went down.

"We had a 31 percent decrease in crashes at the monitored sites," Higgins said. "People started to actually pay attention to the lights and not go thorough on red and think twice about going through on yellow."

Photo cop critics say it's unfair to issue a ticket to a car owner, when someone else may have been driving the car and running a red light.

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