An effort in the Georgia House would strip away the ability
of cities and counties in the state to use automated cameras to ticket drivers.
The cameras snap pictures of red-light runners or speeders'
vehicle tags. A ticket for as much as $70 is mailed to the vehicles' owners,
regardless who was driving at the time.
Sponsored by Rep. Bobby Franklin, R-Marietta, the bill would
repeal a six-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 be required to take them down.
Supporters of the equipment say it 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. Others say the cameras are unconstitutional.
"You're forced to testify against yourself. You can't
confront your accuser," Franklin told the Gwinnett
Daily Post. "There's no due process."
In fact, a study paid for by the U.S. Department of
Transportation showed rear-end crashes actually increased in cities with
red-light cameras, as motorists stopped abruptly at yellow lights to avoid
The bill - HB77 - is in the House Motor Vehicles Committee.
The earliest the bill could be considered in committee is Thursday, Feb. 15.
- By Keith Goble,
state legislative editor