Georgia law restricting red-light cameras takes effect Jan. 1

| 12/30/2008

A new law in Georgia is intended to make it tougher for local governments to post red-light cameras. It takes effect Jan. 1, 2009.

The cameras that are used in more than 20 cities and counties across the state 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.

The new law allows cities and counties to continue to use automated cameras at intersections, but puts new restrictions on local governments. The rule requires them to get permits from the Georgia Department of Transportation to put up cameras.

Localities with existing programs have until January 2010 to obtain permits for use of the ticketing machines.

Cities will be required to provide the DOT with annual reports on the devices. Local governments also are prohibited from decreasing the duration of the amber light time.

Supporters say the changes are intended to ensure the cameras are for safety and not for filling local coffers.

Motorists who are issued photo tickets can avoid fines by sending in forms certifying that they were not driving when their vehicle was captured on camera running a red light.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor