New laws in multiple states revise ticket camera rules

July 16, 2021

Keith Goble

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Governors in multiple states have taken action in recent weeks to address the topic of automated cameras to ticket drivers.

More than 500 communities around the country use red-light and/or speed cameras to nab drivers who disobey traffic rules, the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety reports.

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.

Below is a rundown of states to take action on the issue in 2021.

Hawaii

One new Hawaii law appropriates $2 million to fund a red light camera program in Honolulu.

In 2020, state lawmakers approved the use of red-light cameras for the capital city but the legislation did not fully fund the program.

Previously HB766, the new law allows the Hawaii Department of Transportation to install ticket cameras at 10 intersections around the city. Red-light runners would face fines up to $500.

The new law took effect immediately.

Maryland

A new law in Maryland covers the use of speed monitoring systems in the Baltimore area.

Previously HB967, the new law authorizes two speed cameras to be posted on Interstate 83 in Baltimore City. One camera will be posted northbound, and one will be posted southbound on the Jones Falls Expressway.

The city already posts speed cameras and red-light cameras on certain roadways.

Since June 1, law enforcement is limited to issuing warning notices for speeding violations along the stretch of I-83 for 90 days. Starting Sept. 1, violators could face $40 fines.

Revenue from fines collected would be used for operation of the cameras and for roadway improvements on the Jones Falls Expressway.

Natasha Mehu of the mayor’s office said speed cameras are necessary.

“Traditional methods of speed enforcement are not possible on I-83 within Baltimore City due to the existing width of roadway shoulders, the inability to widen shoulders due to fiscal and engineering constraints, and resource challenges of the Baltimore Police Department,” Mehu wrote in testimony.

New York

In New York, both statehouse chambers voted to approve a bill to allow the state to move forward with placing speed cameras in construction zones.

Data from the New York State Department of Transportation shows that over a seven-year period there were 3,450 wrecks in work zones on state highways. There were 50 fatalities and more than 1,100 injuries to drivers and workers.

“Stronger enforcement of speeding in work zones has the potential to significantly reduce both the incidence of motorists and worker fatalities while training better overall motorist behavior,” Assemblyman William Magnarelli, D-Syracuse, wrote in justification for the change.

The bill, A485, now heads to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s desk.

Oregon

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has signed into law a bill to make permanent the city of Portland’s speed radar program.

There are 11 cities in Oregon, including Portland, where photo radar is permitted on segments of roads. Police are required to review potential violations. Tickets are issued for violators exceeding the posted speed by more than 10 mph.

HB2530 eliminates the 2024 sunset date for the city of Portland’s program.

Additionally, authorization for speed cameras is extended to all cities with populations of at least 50,000. The change affects about a dozen locales.

Cameras will only be permitted in areas designated as “urban high-crash corridors.” The classification covers areas designated as a safety risk by the Oregon Department of Transportation.

The new ticket camera authorization takes effect Jan. 1, 2022. LL

More state trends

Keith Goble, state legislative editor for Land Line Media, keeps track of many trends among statehouses across the U.S. Here are some recent articles by him.

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.