Lawmakers in the New
Hampshire House earlier this month voted against a bill that sought to give
communities in the state the green light to install cameras at traffic lights
to catch drivers running red lights.
The bill, which
previously passed the House Transportation Committee 14-0, was defeated 217-99.
A parliamentary move to “indefinitely postpone” HB679 passed by a voice vote,
meaning the issue cannot come up for consideration again during the two-year
Sponsored by Rep.
Candace Bouchard, D-Concord, it would have allowed cities or towns with a population of 20,000 or more to install the
motion-activated cameras at intersections. The measure allowed the New
Hampshire Department of Safety to install cameras in smaller communities on
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration endorses
the cameras, which are in communities in 20 states and the District of
Columbia, as one piece of a safety approach that incorporates better
engineering, education and enforcement. But the agency said the question of
whether to use the cameras should be left up to local decision-makers.
Supporters say the equipment acts as a deterrent and helps
snare red-light-running drivers who otherwise might not get caught.
But some question the effectiveness of such intersection
cameras, arguing they have the potential to distract drivers and cause more
Under the bill, cameras would snap pictures of red-light
runners and a ticket would be mailed to the vehicle owner. Signs would be
posted alerting drivers to the cameras use at affected intersections.
Cities would be allowed to set the fines to as much as $100.
No points would be added to offenders’ licenses and their insurance companies
would not be notified.
Ticket revenues would be split evenly between the state and
Transportation panel members also voted down a bill that
would have made seat-belt use in the state mandatory.
HB705 sought to permit police to
ticket unbelted drivers and passengers in vehicles pulled over for another
traffic violation, such as speeding or a bad taillight.
New Hampshire, whose motto is “Live
Free or Die,” has long resisted a universal seat-belt law, though every other
state has one.
Lawmakers voted 180-124 to kill the