Indiana Senate advances red-light camera effort

| Wednesday, March 09, 2005

A bill that would allow towns in Indiana to place cameras at intersections to catch red-light runners passed the Senate March 2.

Sponsored by Sen. Ryan Mishler, R-Bremen, the bill would allow up to 10 cities to place cameras at stoplights as part of a pilot program. Each city could place the cameras at up to 10 intersections deemed to pose a safety problem.

The program would require a participating city to adopt an ordinance for the program, which uses a stationary camera to photograph the license plate of vehicles caught entering the intersection when the light is red. The vehicle must be going at least 18 mph.

Police officers would review the photos before sending a citation, which could cost offenders up to $100. The violation would not be a moving violation and no points would be counted against a person’s license.

Signs would warn drivers about the cameras as they approach the intersection.

The bill – SB570 – hit a snag Feb. 28 when senators voted 25-23 to kill the bill. However, the tally was one vote short of the constitutional majority required. The second time around, senators passed the bill 31-17.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration endorses the cameras, which are in communities in at least 15 states.

Supporters say the equipment acts as a deterrent and helps snare red-light running drivers who otherwise might not get caught.

Opponents question the effectiveness of such intersection cameras, arguing they have the potential to distract drivers and cause more fender-bender accidents.

Mishler’s bill now heads to the House for further consideration.

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