Police across Wisconsin could soon have a new tool to help catch drivers who run red lights.
Legislation being considered at the Capitol would allow local governments to use red light cameras at traffic intersections. Those systems allow a camera to photograph the license plate of a vehicle that goes through an intersection while the light is red.
State Representative Josh Zepnick (D-Milwaukee), the sponsor of the measure, says the system allows police to crack down on people who ignore traffic signals, without making officers wait to catch them in the act. A traffic officer would still have to review the camera footage for a ticket to be issued.
The bill would allow cities to impose fines on drivers who run red lights, but Zepnick doesn't want offenses to count against driving records. Zepnick says making it a civil offense will help eliminate concerns from the Department of Transportation, which says adding a moving violation could mess with the current automation system in place for recording traffic offenses.
Several other states already employ the technology. Zepnick says cities such as Chicago have the cameras in place, and they have been quite effective in getting drivers to stop running red lights at interesections where they are in place.