Speed Cameras

To Avoid Due Process, City Makes Red-Light Running a Parking Violation



Running a red light in Kansas City, Missouri is now treated as if the owner of the vehicle parked illegally in the middle of an intersection under city code changes unanimously adopted Thursday. That makes it a crime to own a vehicle that is "located" within an intersection after the light turns red. Officials embraced this legal contortions to avoid having to offer full due process rights to motorists, since Missouri is one of the few states in the nation where red light light cameras are in use without the approval of the state legislature. State law requires the assessment of points on a driver convicted of any moving violation, so the new ordinance turns the moving violation of red light running into a parking violation so that the city does not have to prove who was driving.

"The violation is not driving into the intersection but owning a vehicle that is found in the intersection while the light is emitting a steady red light," city staff explained in a memo.

Under the previous red light camera ordinance, it was presumed the owner of the vehicle was likely to be its driver, placing the burden on the owner to prove otherwise. Under the new language, it does not matter.