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Should Denver end its red-light camera program?

Colorado’s red-light camera programs seem to be dropping in popularity across the state. The legislature tried to get rid of it twice, but the governor vetoed both tries. Last month, the citizens of Aurora took matters into their own hands and voted to get rid of the red-light camera program in their city. Will other cities do the same?

 

The pros and cons

Proponents of the traffic light cameras argue that t-bone accidents have been down since the city installed the cameras. In addition, the city received substantial revenue from the program.

The problem with the program is that people simply do not want it and see it as a violation of their privacy and civil liberties. The Aurora City Council had voted on it for several years resulting in a six-to-five vote. They decided to finally put the vote to the people, and the result was clear. Aurora voters voted two-to-one to end the program.

What does this mean for Denver?

Denver still has a red-light camera program, along with a few other cities. If the vote in Aurora is any indication, drivers do not want the program in Denver, either. When Gov. Hickenlooper vetoed the 2016 bill to ban the program, he stated that cities should decide for themselves whether to use them. Perhaps it’s time for the Denver City Council to follow Aurora’s lead and put a vote to the citizens of Denver on this issue.

What are your current rights?

Until the laws in Denver change, you should know the following about your rights regarding red-light cameras:

  • If you were not driving, the burden is on you to prove it. You can get out of the ticket, but you have the burden to prove to them it was not you. You are not required to tell them who was driving.
  • Cameras must have warning signs posted. Double-check if you think you saw the camera flash, but did not see a sign. Take a picture to prove there was no sign that day.
  • The tickets dont add points to your license. The city does not report these tickets to the DMV. If you don’t pay a summons, however, they can affect your credit score.
  • The city has 90 days to serve you. If you ignore the ticket mailed to you, the city must serve you with a ticket within 90 days. Otherwise, the ticket is invalid. You are taking a risk that the original ticket amount will go up, however.

Perhaps Denver will follow Aurora’s example and ban the red-light cameras sometime in the near future. Until then, understand your rights and responsibilities when it comes to these devices.

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