State Watch
Automated enforcement cameras falling from favor?

By Keith Goble
state legislative editor


A topic of conversation in statehouses throughout the country centers on the use of automated enforcement cameras. Legislation runs the gamut from restricting use or banning them altogether to giving them the green light. Some bills are focused on red-light cameras while others address speed cameras. Still others tackle the use of both.

One year after Montana and Mississippi acted to outlaw red-light cameras and Maine restricted the use of cameras to track red-light runners and speeders, more than a dozen states are looking to do the same.

Among the states to pursue legislation are Arizona, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee and Washington, which would add them to the list of 15 states that prohibit the use of automated enforcement. Efforts to limit camera use have been taken up in Georgia and Illinois. Other states that have discussed bills to expand use or authorize the enforcement tool are California, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts and South Dakota. In addition, a Delaware bill would increase fine amounts.

An effort in Florida to authorize the use of red-light cameras has moved to the governor’s desk. Cities and counties would be authorized to set up cameras at intersections. Currently, Florida law neither permits nor forbids their use.

Supporters say the cameras are about promoting safety and using technology in a helpful way. Others say the devices free up police to address bigger issues.

Opponents, including OOIDA, have questioned the claim that cameras are solely intended to keep people safe. OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer says the revenue incentive is found in the analysis on the bill.

It is estimated the state of Florida could increase revenues through the cameras by $29 million in the first year. A nearly $95 million boost could result by the end of the 2014 budget year.

Local governments in the state could get $10 million in the first year, and as much as $66 million in 2014. LL