JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The mayor of Mississippi's capital city is pushing for a return of traffic cameras.
The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson reports that Mayor Chokwe Lumumba wants a return to 2009, when the city had red light cameras at major intersections.
The mayor said he believes the installation of the cameras to monitor the running of red lights will reduce serious traffic accidents and fatalities in Jackson.
Lumumba also says using the cameras would reduce pressure on a police department that's stretched thin.
The Legislature blocked the use of traffic cameras in 2009. Re-authorizing them is among the mayor's top priorities when the state Legislature meets next year.
In remarks to the City Council this week, Lumumba used images of a recent accident as he argued for the need to increase traffic safety.
"This is right outside our walls here," the mayor said, as a picture of an overturned vehicle appeared on the council TV monitors.
"These images don't show the most gruesome nature of these things," Lumumba continued, "but we continue to have fatalities. Having cameras at intersections, there's an economic benefit, but this is really a public safety issue."
Critics question the accuracy of the cameras. They also say having cameras could lead city government to lean too heavily on revenue from red light violations. Some worry measures could be taken to trap motorists by reducing the amount of time a yellow light is displayed.
The next step is for the mayor and city lobbyist Quincy Mukoro to sit down with city attorneys and the Police Department to get their views. They will present a final proposal to the City Council, then try to find a state legislative sponsor to support the authorization of red light cameras in the city.
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