State Watch
States look to change ticket camera rules
p>By Keith Goble, state legislative editor

Ticket cameras are a perennial topic in states throughout the country. This year the issue is again drawing discussion in statehouses – both for and against.

In Missouri, the state’s Highways and Transportation Commission adopted a policy that outlines how cities and counties can apply to get red-light and speed cameras posted.

Previously, a freeze was placed on new cameras on state highways pending a state department of transportation review to address concerns that they were being used to boost coffers instead of safety. The review found that side-impact crashes were nearly cut in half at intersections posted with red-light cameras while rear-end collisions rose 14 percent.

The new policy includes conditions for installation and calls for greater oversight. Also addressed is a policy on speed cameras. The cameras used on state highways can only be used in school zones, work zones and travel safe zones.

Despite the decision handed down by the commission, Missouri lawmakers continue to pursue efforts that would discourage or outright ban use of the technology.

News of the Missouri policy led one Iowa state lawmaker to call for similar action while other legislators are pursuing an outright ban on Iowa’s use of automated enforcement cameras.

OOIDA leadership says the focus on ticket cameras ignores the more logical and reasoned approach to roads and traffic.

“The goal should be to keep traffic moving in as safe a manner as possible,” said OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer. Communities should be pursuing “intelligent traffic lights that actually monitor traffic and are triggered by traffic flow,” he said.

Other notable efforts to address ticket cameras:

A Maryland lawmaker has a bill to rein in use of speed cameras in highway construction zones.

Sen. Jim Brochin, D-Towson, wants to tweak existing law to limit use of the devices to only when workers are on the job.

In South Carolina, a perceived loophole is being addressed. A bill would expressly outlaw speeding tickets based on photos. Police would also be required to directly hand tickets to drivers within an hour of a violation.

A South Dakota bill would flat-out forbid the use of camera enforcement.

Multiple bills are under consideration in Tennessee. One bill would prohibit tickets from being issued based solely on evidence from ticket cameras. A separate effort would make tickets issued from cameras to be invalid for rolling right turns. Another bill would require 95 percent of revenue by cameras to be used for education.

In Texas, a bill would require timers to be attached to cameras.

Virginia allows communities around the state to use red-light cameras, but one bill would prohibit other communities from adding them.

Among the bills offered in Washington state to address camera use are two measures that would give voters the final say.

While legislators from states around the country address whether to put the clamps on automated enforcement, officials in a handful of states are taking a different approach. Two Indiana bills would authorize speed cameras in work zones and permit use of red light cameras elsewhere.

In Nevada, the state DOT is pursuing a reversal on the state’s stance on the technology. State law now prohibits use of camera radar by law enforcement officers or agencies.

Truckers are under the gun in New York. Targeted at trucks using roadways posted as a “No Truck” zone, the bill would allow New York City to set up a local law or ordinance to create a pilot truck weight photo-monitoring system. LL