Brakes on red light cameras official
The brakes were officially put on red light cameras at midnight Monday in Mt. Juliet.
After three years and a lot of angst to motorists, the seven red light cameras installed at five Mt. Juliet intersections were de-activated.
The contract Mt. Juliet had with American Traffic Solutions, the company that oversaw the cameras, has expired.
A year ago Vice Mayor James Maness drafted a resolution to not renew the contract with ATS and it passed. Motorists were fined $50 for running a red light or not stopping before turning right on red.
At the time, Maness said the enforcement cameras were "sold to us on the grounds of safety."
"I read a recent article where it was easier to get struck by lightning than by a car when rolling on a right on red," he said. "The chances of being hit by lightning are one in 200,000, being hit while rolling on a right on red are 1 in 300,000."
He also said there was a question of T-bone crashes.
"But the vast majority of these tickets given are for not stopping before turning right on red," he said.
This was not the first time there was an attempt by someone on the commission to do away with the cameras. Earlier, then Mt. Juliet Mayor Linda Elam drew up a resolution to get rid of the cams or alter them. It didn't go over well because of the $375,000 fine to break the contract.
Last year the city commission voted to take monitoring right on red turns out of the equation.
This week Maness said he was glad the cameras will no longer be active.
"I think they were put in with good intentions," he said. "But I haven't really seen where they've improved things. In fact, I've read where these cameras are installed, rear-end accidents increased across the nation."
Maness said it "looks like ATS made a killing over the three years."
He said about two-thirds of the revenue from the tickets went to ATS.
Maness estimated that over the three years the city of Mt. Juliet netted about $70,000 to $100,000 annually from ticketing motorists through the camera system.
Mt. Juliet Police Chief James Hambrick said it will take several months to see the results of removing the cameras as it relates to traffic accidents.
"The citations decreased with time, which means people were following the rules and paying attention, " he said.
According to police records, there were approximately 97 "events" recorded on the red light camera system. Hambrick said about 40,000 actual tickets were issued after officer reviews.
Managing Editor Laurie Everett can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 46 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org