Virginia laws on ticket cams, truck parking, warrantless searches in effect July 1

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 6/23/2014

Changes to Virginia law that cover ticket cameras, truck parking and electronic eavesdropping are set to take effect.

Starting July 1, one new law is intended to improve safety, and cut into profits, by standardizing yellow times at intersections around the state posted with red-light cameras.

The devices are used in nine communities and two counties in the state.

All red-light cameras will be required to have yellow times of at least three seconds.

According to the National Motorists Association, lengthening yellow times reduces red-light running incidents 60 to 90 percent.

“It will almost always reduce violation rates far more than cameras,” NMA consultant Jim Walker has said.

A separate new law specifies that drivers found in violation at photo-monitored intersections would have a right to appeal to the circuit courts and that the appeal would be civil in nature. Fine amounts would also drop from $50 to $20.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association supports rules to limit ticket cameras. Association officials say the focus on the revenue-generating devices ignores the more logical and reasoned approach to roads and traffic.

OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer has said the goal should be to keep traffic moving in as safe a manner as possible. He has also said that communities would be better served to pursue “intelligent traffic lights that actually monitor traffic and are triggered by traffic flow.”

Another new law adds to the state’s list of communities that regulate or prohibit truck parking.

Currently, the counties of Arlington, Fairfax Hanover, Stafford and Prince William and the towns of Clifton, Herndon and Vienna have authority to enact ordinances to regulate or prohibit truck parking in residential areas.

The new law adds the town of Blackstone to the list.

OOIDA says that communities and state DOTs should put a greater emphasis on adding parking and making safe parking more available for truckers.

One more new law covers Stingray technology. The equipment mimics cellphone towers and allows law enforcement to track the movements of anyone nearby with a cellphone. The numbers of people’s incoming and outgoing calls and text messages are also captured.

Effective the first of the month, law enforcement must obtain search warrants before capturing cellphone data of innocent drivers.

Telephone companies are also prohibited from providing phone records or metadata to the National Security Agency or other federal agencies without a search warrant or the person’s permission.

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