Tennessee bill would bring surveillance cameras to interstates

June 9, 2020

Keith Goble

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A Tennessee bill would allow police to use surveillance cameras on the state’s busiest roadways.

State law now prohibits the use of unmanned traffic enforcement surveillance cameras on interstate highways. An exception is made for cameras posted in work zones.

Additionally, there are more than one dozen locales throughout the state that use automated enforcement devices to enforce traffic laws.

Sponsored by Rep. Mark White, R-Memphis, the bill would authorize law enforcement to use surveillance cameras on interstates.

HB2110 reads that the surveillance cameras would not be used to enforce or monitor state or local traffic violations or issue citations for such violations.

White said the bill is intended to permit police to track criminals and detect movements of suspects in crimes. He highlighted the help it could provide to locate Amber Alert suspects.

“(The bill) gives our law enforcement the ability to use today’s technology we already are using in cities and communities to put it on our federal interstate highways so those who are guilty of doing wrong will be detected,” White said while speaking on the House floor.

Critics raise privacy concerns. They also question whether the surveillance cameras would be more effective than the current Amber Alert system that notifies people about alerts via cellphone.

Addressing concern about license plate data being stored, White said data would be stored for 90 days before being destroyed.

According to a fiscal note attached to the bill, it is assumed that the Tennessee Department of Transportation’s SmartWay cameras would be used to aid in criminal investigations.

The bill did not get a House floor vote. Instead, it was moved back to the House Judiciary Committee. The Senate version, SB2090, is in the Senate Transportation Committee.

More Land Line coverage of news from Tennessee is available.

Keith Goble

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.