Weatherford Democrat

Obituaries

February 27, 2014

Red-light cameras click less as towns get Orwell off roads

The shutters clicked, the grainy photos were sent to the red-light violators and St. Louis raised $4.1 million last year. Now the vehicular version of "Candid Camera" may be ending, as it has in other U.S towns and cities.

A circuit court judge in St. Louis nullified its camera law Feb. 11, two months after a Missouri appeals court judge struck down a similar suburban ordinance. Those rulings have added to the legal and political blowback across the nation against a system whose safety benefits are disputed while its revenue- generating efficiency is not.

"All it is is a money grab," said Joe Brazil, a St. Charles County, Mo., councilman jailed last year for failing to pay a $100 fine in the St. Louis suburb of St. Peters. "It's almost like racketeering. It's not about safety."

Opponents in Missouri, New Jersey and other states are proving that city hall can be defeated with court challenges and political pressure. Even as advocates promote cameras' ability to save lives, the number of communities using them has dropped about 6 percent since 2012 to 509, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in Arlington, Va. Lawmakers in five states, including Ohio and Florida, are considering banning or limiting their use, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

While drivers have long complained about tickets from real- life police officers, those transactions afford the opportunity for a face-to-face exchange, even if it's often unpleasant. The Orwellian nature of traffic cameras, used in 21 states, has provoked charges they are inaccurate, unconstitutional and fueled solely by the desire of municipalities and camera companies to raise money.

Red-light cameras in Florida alone raised $119 million last year, according to a study released Feb. 7 by the legislatures's Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability.

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Obituaries
  • 0417 obit fincher ross.jpg Ross Lindy Fincher

    Ross Lindy Fincher, 86, passed away Thursday, April 9, 2014, in Weatherford.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • Danice L. Mainard

    Danice L. Mainard, 78, of Weatherford, passed away Wednesday, April 9, 2014, at her residence.

    April 17, 2014

  • 0416 obit Matt Peabody002.jpg Matthew “Matt” Douglas Peabody

    Matthew “Matt” Douglas Peabody, 17, died April 10, 2014, in Midland.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jean Lundgren

    Jean Lundgren, 71, died Friday, April 11, 2014. 

    April 15, 2014

  • Beverly Joann Ramey

    Beverly Joann Ramey, 45, passed away April 9, 2014, in a Mineral Wells hospital. 

    April 15, 2014

  • Juanita Darlene Leaf Juanita Darlene Leaf

    WEATHERFORD — Juanita Darlene Leaf, 76, died Thursday, April 10, 2014.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • V.C. "Charlie" Edgmon V.C. “Charlie” Edgmon

    WEATHERFORD — V.C. “Charlie” Edgmon, 74, a loving husband, father, PawPaw and brother, passed away Saturday, April 12, 2014.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Paul Everroad Paul Everroad

    WEATHERFORD — Paul Everroad, 92, loving husband, father, Papa, brother and uncle, passed away Friday, April 11, 2014.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Elizabeth Mixson

    WILLOW PARK — Elizabeth Mixson, 89, passed away Monday, April 14, 2014, in Fort Worth.

    April 14, 2014

  • 0413 obit cole ruby grace.jpg Ruby Grace Cole

    Ruby Grace Cole, 80, died Saturday, April 12, 2014, in Fort Worth.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

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