Ticket camera rule changes approved, near passage in six states

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 5/28/2019

State legislatures around the country continue to discuss and take action on the use of automated cameras to ticket drivers.

More than 500 communities around the country employ the use of red-light or speed cameras to nab drivers who disobey traffic rules, the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety reports.

Officials with the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association say the focus on the revenue-generating devices ignores the more logical and reasoned approach to roads and traffic: keep traffic moving in as safe a manner as possible.

In recent months Ohio and Pennsylvania state lawmakers have taken action on the issue. Effective this fall in Pennsylvania, speed cameras can be posted in active work zones on interstates and federal aid highways.

The new law allows a five-year pilot program enabling the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the Turnpike Commission to post speed cameras along affected roadways.

In addition, a legislative analysis reports the cameras could raise in excess of $30 million annually with the state’s take being allotted to the State Police, PennDOT, Turnpike Commission, and Motor License Fund.

Meanwhile, across the state line in Ohio a new rule is intended to discourage local governments’ use of red-light and speed cameras. Specifically, the state can withhold tax revenue-sharing dollars from locales that employ the automated ticketing devices.

Cities that issue citations from camera enforcement systems would be responsible for paying court costs and fees, even when a city wins an appeal. Previously, vehicle owners were on the hook for the costs.

Legislative activity on the issue of automated cameras to ticket drivers continues at statehouses from Texas to Hawaii. Below is a sampling of recent legislation being followed by Land Line.

Texas

A bill headed to the governor’s desk addresses the use of automated enforcement throughout the state.

According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, there are 54 communities throughout Texas that employ red-light cameras. At least six towns have outlawed use of automated ticketing programs.

Currently, fines for running red lights at monitored intersections in the Lone Star State cannot exceed $75. Failure to pay can result in offenders being barred from renewing their vehicle registration.

House and Senate lawmakers approved a bill, HB1631, to prohibit cities from using photo systems to fine drivers for speeding or running red lights.

Advocates say ending ticket camera programs would prevent cities from being incentivized to issue tickets to increase revenues. Opponents say local governments should have the freedom to make their own decision on whether or not to use the programs.

Connecticut

House lawmakers voted to advance legislation to permit the use of speed cameras in maintenance work zones.

Automated enforcement cameras could be used to detect drivers exceeding the posted speed limit by at least 12 mph when workers are present.

Signs advising drivers of camera enforcement would be required at affected work zones.

The bill, HB6392, has moved to the Senate for further consideration.

North Carolina

One bill halfway through the statehouse would revise rules on the use of red-light cameras in multiple Cumberland County locales.

State law already permits 19 cities around the state and the municipalities in Union County to use the ticket tool cameras.

The House approved a bill to permit the towns of Hope Mills and Spring Lake to use red-light cameras.

Fine amounts in the two towns, and in the city of Fayetteville, would be set at $100 – up from the current $75 fine. The remaining communities would continue to collect $75 fines.

H105 has moved to the Senate.

Hawaii

The Legislature reached agreement on a bill to advance efforts to use red-light camera enforcement systems throughout the state.

House and Senate lawmakers compromised on a version of the bill to study and to make recommendations on how to operate the camera systems in all counties. At the same time, a committee will study how much money counties will need to run their own systems.

The chambers previously approved differing versions of the legislation. The House version called for setting up a committee to develop policies for counties to follow before the ticket devices can be installed along their streets. The same requirement would be applied for the city of Honolulu.

Senators approved a version of the bill to permit counties to set up red-light camera enforcement systems.

The compromise version of SB663 has since moved to Gov. David Ige’s desk.

 

 

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