The Clarion-Ledger, 2/16/9

A proposed statewide ban on traffic cameras is moving through the 2009 regular legislative session, prompting concern from Jackson law enforcement officers who cite the cameras’ effectiveness at reducing accidents and raising revenue.

House Bill 1568 would do away with the cameras in all cities and counties. The measure cleared the House last week with bipartisan support, and it now heads to the Senate.

Three other Mississippi cities – Columbus, Southaven and Tupelo – use red light cameras, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. At least two others – McComb and Natchez – have approved using the cameras, and several other cities have considered them.

In Jackson, 16 cameras have been set up since October at eight intersections in downtown, west Jackson and Fondren. There are discussions about putting cameras in other parts of the city.

The cameras have reduced accidents at the intersections by an average of 68 percent, allowing officers to concentrate on “fighting crime instead of working accidents,” said Lt. William Thompson, patrol operations manager for the Jackson Police Department.