California lawmakers OK bill to regulate ticket cams

| Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A California bill that is intended to help ease concerns about ticket cameras being used as revenue generators is headed to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk.

The Senate voted unanimously to sign off on changes to a bill that would regulate the use of ticket cameras by establishing statewide standards for installation and operation. The vote clears the way for the bill – SB29 – to advance to the governor’s desk. Assembly lawmakers previously approved it on a 70-4 vote.

Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, wrote in the bill that before communities can install cameras they must show that “they system is needed at a specific location for reasons related to safety.” The provision would affect ticket systems installed after Jan. 1, 2012. Existing systems would be required to be in compliance the following year.

Simitian said he does not oppose ticket cameras. He simply wants to address concerns about accuracy, privacy and due process.

“I believe traffic tickets should only be issued to improve public safety, not to raise revenue,” Simitian said in a statement.

Among the provisions included in the bill is a requirement for local governments to better warn drivers that the cameras are in use. Warning signs would be required within 200 feet of an intersection with cameras.

Advocates say advance warning signs would virtually solve the red-light running problem – in California and elsewhere.

In addition, local governments throughout the state would be required to clearly explain how to dispute a ticket.

“This bill is designed to make sure that people’s due process rights are protected as they work their way through the system,” Simitian stated.

Gov. Brown can sign the bill, veto it, or let it become law without his signature.

To view other legislative activities of interest for California, click here.

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