Bill outlawing red light cameras passes Oklahoma Senate

OKLAHOMA CITY - A bill prohibiting robotic eyes at the intersection is making its way through the Oklahoma legislature with little opposition.

Senator Nathan Dahm (R-Broken Arrow) authored SB260 and said it's part of a nationwide movement to outlaw red light cameras.

"There are quite a few states that have already banned red light cameras," Dahm said. "There are a lot of cities and municipalities that started to remove them that had them in place for years."

Dahm said the research he's done reveals a risk he doesn't want to test in our state.

"At almost every intersection where they had them, they saw an increase in accidents taking place," the senator said. "People were afraid to run the red light or even the yellow light and possibly get a ticket, so they would slam on the brakes, causing multiple-car pileups."

Oklahoma currently doesn't have any operational red light cameras monitoring intersections.

About two dozen states currently use the cameras, and their use has gone down about 20 percent as voters and legislators challenge their use with referendums and bills. Many opponents of the cameras said they are just revenue generators, as many cities that use them see millions of dollars from citations.

Voters banned them via referendum in at least seven Texas cities.

Meanwhile, in New Jersey, the use of red light cameras ended more than four years ago. The state is so against the use of the cameras, if a New Jersey driver was caught on a camera in another state, New Jersey would not release the name or address associated with the license plate.

Florida has used the red light cameras for at least a decade, and it has brought millions in additional revenue to the Sunshine State; but there is currently a bill working its way through the Florida legislature to take cameras offline there, as well.

Dahm said safety isn't the only issue: greed also reared its ugly head.

"In some areas that did have red light cameras, we found out they were actually shortening the duration of the yellow light to catch more people in a red light violation as a revenue driver, but it was causing those accidents," he said. "So, they were willing to risk people safety in order to generate revenue, and that’s not a correct thing, it's not a good way to look at things."

SB260 passed the Senate 46-1; with such little opposition, Dahm expects it to swiftly make it to the governor's desk in the coming weeks.

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