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Home News News Fox 8 Council votes to reinstate traffic cameras

Council votes to reinstate traffic cameras

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New Orleans - The New Orleans City Council voted in favor of an ordinance it believes will restore the city's traffic camera program.

The Louisiana Supreme Court recently upheld a lower court ruling that the traffic camera program violated the city's charter because the citations were being handled by the city's Public Works Department instead of the New Orleans Police Department.

Under the ordinance, once the police department receives photographs of a vehicle violating traffic laws, the department must send the information to the city's parking adjudication bureau. However, the NOPD will be responsible for the administration of the notification and collection of the fines assessed against red light runners and drivers going over the speed limit.

City Council Vice President Jackie Clarkson said the red light cameras have made roadways safer for drivers.

"This is primary public safety, it has reduced speeding and it has reduced red light violations."

Clarkson said people who were ticketed and have not yet paid their fines still owe them despite the brief suspension of the program.

NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas said transferring the responsibility for the program will not require any additional manpower.

"When people speed, people are at risk," Serpas said. Serpas added he would like to see more cameras in school zones.

City attorneys believe the minor changes in the law approved by the council today addresses the issues raised during the legal challenge and subsequent court decisions. Councilman Jon Johnson, who represents New Orleans East and parts of the Ninth Ward, expressed concerns that even the revised law will again be tested in the courts. City lawyers said they are prepared for future legal fights over the traffic cameras.

Johnson also complained that an out of state company is processing the cameras. He said the work should be done in New Orleans and he said at the very least there should be a location where violators could pay the fines in the city as opposed to sending the money out of state.

The administration said the red light camera system has generated $24 million for city government.

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