Massachusetts bills cover ticket cams, ‘move over’ rule, headlight use

| 8/3/2011

While most legislatures around the country have closed for the year, lawmakers in a handful of statehouses, including Massachusetts, continue to meet.

Several bills of interest are drawing consideration in Massachusetts’ Joint Committee on Transportation. Among them are bills that would authorize use of ticket cameras, require use of headlights in bad weather and expand the list of vehicles covered in the state’s “Move Over” law.

Rep. Kevin Honan, D-Brighton, has offered a bill – H918 – to allow communities to adopt ordinances permitting them to post cameras to nab red-light runners and speeders.

The cameras snap pictures of offenders’ vehicle tags. Tickets are mailed to the vehicles’ owners, regardless of who was driving at the time.

Violators would face up to $100 fines. Points would not be added to offenders’ licenses and insurance companies would not be notified.

Advocates say the bill is about safety and using technology in a helpful way. Others say authorizing the use of cameras frees up police to address bigger issues.

Opponents, including OOIDA, say that when state and local governments resort to the use of automated enforcement it is not about safety. It is about generating revenue. They say a better alternative would be to extend yellow times, or provide advance warning signs.

Five efforts intended to make roadways safer would require travelers to flip on their headlights when the windshield wipers are in use.

In addition, the state’s “Move Over” law could soon get a makeover. The rule requires travelers to make way for vehicles, typically emergency personnel, during roadside stops. H910 would include utility vehicles in the protection.

The bills are in the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Transportation.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Massachusetts, visit and click on legislative watch.

Editor’s Note: Please share your thoughts with us about the story topic. Comments may be sent to