Michigan bill would permit speed cameras in work zones

August 30, 2021

Keith Goble

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Legislators in two states are pursuing authorization for speed camera enforcement in at least certain areas.

One bill in the Michigan House would permit state agencies and local officials to tap speed cameras to enforce vehicle speeds in highway or street work zones. Devices would capture a vehicle’s image, the location, date and time of speed infractions.

Registered vehicle owners would receive citations in the mail.

First offenses could result in a written warning or a civil fine up to $100. Repeat offenders would be fined up to $100, with subsequent violations resulting in fines up to $250.

Sponsored by Rep. Gary Eisen, R-St. Clair Township, HB5272 is in the House Judiciary Committee.

Wider authority pursued

A related bill in the House Judiciary Committee would allow posting speed enforcement cameras.

Sponsored by Rep. Sarah Anthony, D-Lansing, HB5284 also lets state agencies and local officials use the devices in highway or street work zones. The bill does not include the restriction for the devices only in work zones.

The devices would be required to be connected to the state’s license plate management system. Signs to warn drivers of the presence of speed cameras would be mandated.

Vehicle owners would be presumed to be the driver and would receive tickets in the mail. Violations would start at $170.

Advocates say the use of the devices is necessary to help law enforcement cope with officer shortages. Additionally, they say the use of the technology reduces police interactions with drivers while maintaining driver accountability.

Officials with the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association say the focus on the revenue-generating devices ignores the more logical and reasoned approach to roads and traffic: keep traffic moving in as safe a manner as possible.

Pennsylvania pursues local speed radar

The pursuit of speed radar for municipal police use continues at the Pennsylvania statehouse.

Pennsylvania is the lone state to prohibit municipal police from enforcing speed limits with radar. State troopers are allowed to use radar.

Senators early this summer voted nearly unanimously to approve legislation that would let municipal police officers use radar to ticket speeders.

Currently, local police are limited to enforcement tools such as VASCAR, which determines a vehicle’s speed by measuring its time to move between two points.

The Senate-approved bill includes a requirement for municipalities first to pass an ordinance allowing the use of radar.

Sponsored by Sen. Mario Scavello, R-Monroe, SB419 would authorize local police to issue tickets only if the offending driving has a recorded speed at least 10 miles over the speed limit where the posted limit is below 70 mph.

Additionally, revenue collected from speeding tickets could not exceed 10% of a municipality’s annual budget. Any revenue raised exceeding the cap would go to the state.

Scavello has said his pursuit of the rule change is about safety.

The bill is in the House Transportation Committee.

Need questioned

Thomas McCarey of the National Motorists Association and others say that giving municipal police access to the enforcement tool could result in speed traps and departments raking in revenue from tickets.

“There is no speeding epidemic –85% of drivers travel at the safest speeds on Pennsylvania’s roads, harming no one,” McCarey wrote. “Why use radar to ticket them at $170-plus a pop?”

Instead, he says following the 85th percentile speed rule – the speed at or below which 85% of vehicles travel in free-flowing traffic – better serves the state. LL

More Land Line coverage of news from Pennsylvania and Michigan is available.

 

Keith Goble has been covering trucking-related laws since 2000. His daily web reports, radio news and “OOIDA’s State Watch” in Land Line Magazine are the industry’s premier sources for information regarding state legislative affairs.