Multiple States Introducing Consumer Protecting Legislation on Camera Enforcement Tickets

Concern about ticket cameras as revenue generators that has spurred protective action for consumers in a few states. California and Tennessee are two such examples. These are typical of the issues and battles we’re likely to see for years to come with the still relatively new use of photo enforcement throughout the county.

California

A bill has been introduced and is intended to help ensure that communities use red light cameras to improve safety, not to raise revenue. One vote away from moving to the Governor, the bill would regulate use of the ticket cameras by establishing statewide standards for installation and operation. Included in the bill is the requirement that communities show that the cameras are needed at a particular location for reasons related to safety as well as requirements that drivers are given better warning that cameras are in use.

Tennessee:

A new law also addresses concern about the photo enforcement red light cameras being used as revenue generators. The law requires studies showing the system is necessary from a safety standpoint and the law prevents the issuance of camera tickets for failing to come to a complete stop before turning right on red where a right on red is otherwise permitted.

South Carolina:

This legislation doesn’t refer necessarily to concerns about revenue generation, but a recently signed South Carolina law is a good example of the variety of the checks on photo enforcement starting to emerge. Here, Governor Nikki Haley signed a bill barring towns from mailing photo speeding tickets and requiring all summonses to be hand-delivered at the scene.

Washington:

It’s a court ruling, not a law. A Superior Court Judge has ruled that there is a problem with officers electronically attaching their signature to a camera summons. This type of ruling essentially puts a stop to camera enforcement altogether as the officer is obviously not present and writing red light tickets at a camera patrolled intersection.

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