State lawmakers may put the brakes on red-light cameras. A bill to ban the traffic devices was introduced in the Capitol on Friday. Opponents say the cameras are more about money than public safety.
But Pueblo police disagree. "I just don't think it's in the best interest of our community," said Sgt. Chris Noeller in response to the bill.
The city has had red-light cameras since September 2009. In that time, it's earned $11,000. The city has a cost-neutral contract with American Traffic Solutions for $21,000 a month, but it only pays ATS what it collects.
If the city exceeds $21,000 a month, it keeps the profit. But that's only happened during eight of the months that cameras have been around.
Pueblo has red-light cameras at three intersections. Noeller said the cameras have reduced the number of side crashes that were common there. "What we're seeing is a really good change in behavior in the motoring public," he said. "Again, that points to the safety benefits of these red-light cameras."
Four percent of drivers who get a ticket at one of the monitored intersections receive another ticket. Noeller said the high success rate is proof the cameras work.
Noeller said, "When people change their driving behavior at these intersections, it can't help but carry over and help change their behavior at other intersections."
"It makes people be aware that there's a possibility of getting a ticket. They need to slow down. Pay more attention," said driver Phyllis Garcia.
But some say just because the cameras keep drivers well-behaved doesn't mean that's always the case.
"People mind their P's and Q's at those intersections and the lights that don't have them you got people that run through them," said driver Brandi Hall.
Sen. George Rivera (R-Pueblo) said he plans to vote against the bill. He said the cameras are keeping people safe.