Red-light camera restriction nears passage in Georgia

| 3/28/2008

The Georgia Senate voted to approve a bill that would make it tougher for local governments to post red-light cameras.

The cameras snap pictures of red-light runners or speeders’ vehicle tags. Tickets are mailed to the vehicles’ owners, regardless of who was driving at the time.

On a 45-5 vote, the Senate advanced a bill that would allow cities and counties to continue to use automated cameras at intersections, but put new restrictions on them. Sponsored by Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville, the measure – HB77 – would require local governments to get permits from the Georgia Department of Transportation to put up cameras.

Introduced a year ago, the bill initially sought to repeal the 6-year-old Georgia law relating to traffic signal monitoring devices. The more than 20 cities and counties across the state that have since posted the cameras would have been required to take them down.

Advocates for the enforcement tool were successful in amending the bill in the House to mandate that local agencies that did not obtain a permit would forfeit revenues to the state.

The measure also would prohibit local governments from decreasing the duration of traffic lights’ amber time. In addition, it would require traffic engineering studies before cameras are posted.

Once the bill arrived on the Senate floor, several amendments were offered. Among the proposed changes that were rejected was a requirement to route half of the fine revenue to the state’s general fund for trauma care.

The bill now moves back to the House for approval of changes. If approved there, it would head to Gov. Sonny Perdue’s desk.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Georgia, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor