Carter is no stranger to public office, nor to the constitutional issues posed by red-light cameras. Having served as municipal judge in the city of Wentzville, Carter is very familiar with the negative feelings that these tickets evoke, "without exception, there was one type of ticket that suffered the most disdain and was the least popular—the red-light camera ticket."
Red-light camera systems have become the subject of increased scrutiny across the nation as people begin to question whether their primary goal is public safety or municipal revenue. Although the systems are touted as an important tool in preventing accidents at intersections, studies on their effectiveness have often been inconclusive, and sometimes have even shown an increase in accidents.
Opponents also question their constitutionality, citing due process concerns. Not only do these tickets, which are mailed to vehicle owners, fail to offer any proof of who was actually behind the wheel, they also take law enforcement powers away from police and put them into the hands of private companies. Red-Light camera companies are said to have contractual agreements with municipalities that limit the cities' power to extend yellow-light duration and make decisions regarding right on red enforcement. Sometimes, the companies even impose quotas on the cities, requiring that a certain number of tickets be issued.
Several cities including Los Angeles, Houston, and Colorado Springs have deactivated their systems. A study in Philadelphia showed that the number of auto accidents has increased since the installation of 90 red-light cameras over the last six years. Mississippi has banned them outright.
Carter's objective is to put an end to all red-light camera tickets, as well as other tickets that are doled out without the presence of a law enforcement officer. He finds the "guilty until proven innocent" nature of these tickets disturbing, and cites the state's reluctance to give these tickets the same force and effect of other moving violations as proof that their enforcement is questionable and problematic.
Carter is an Independent-
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Michael Carter is running for Missouri's Lieutenant Governor position in the 2012 election. The Lieutenant Governor position is virtually one with no real executive powers, but the communications platform can be put to good use.