Two Louisiana bills target ticket cameras

May 6, 2022

Keith Goble

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One Louisiana state lawmaker is pursuing rule changes on the use of automated enforcement cameras to ticket drivers.

Six Louisiana locales, which include Lafayette and New Orleans, use speed cameras, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Red-light cameras are posted in the cities of Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

Minimum fines are set at $60.

Voters would get say

Rep. Paul Hollis, R-Covington, is behind a bill to add a question to the November statewide ballot asking voters whether automated enforcement cameras should be allowed.

Hollis cites concern about automated enforcement cameras being more about money than they are about safety.

Camera advocates say that use of the devices allow police departments to focus enforcement efforts elsewhere. Additionally, they say the $60 fine administered by ticket cameras is much less than the $160 citation that an officer would issue for the same violation during a traffic stop.

The bill, HB85, would ask voters whether the state should prohibit municipalities or parishes from enacting ordinances for the use of automated speed enforcement cameras to regulate traffic on any street, road, or highway.

The rule would cover the use of devices to monitor speed with a traffic control signal or radar speed detection equipment, or both.

HB85 awaits consideration in the House Municipal, Parochial and Cultural Affairs Committee.

Ticket revenue restriction

A second bill from Hollis would prohibit law enforcement from splitting profits, fees, or commissions from traffic fines with a private entity or company.

He says the change is needed because use of the ticket camera devices amounts to a “money grab.”

A fiscal analysis attached to the bill estimates that local government funds could increase without the requirement to send any revenue to a private entity or company. Alternatively, local governments could choose to eliminate the use of ticket cameras because they are no longer able to contract with a third party vendor.

The bill, HB181, is in the House Transportation, Highways and Public Works Committee.

Federal support for automated enforcement

The action comes as new federal guidance authorizes states to tap billions for roadway safety programs.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg earlier this year unveiled plans to address a record increase in traffic deaths on the nation’s highways. Automated cameras were included among the tools identified to aid reducing fatalities.

The Department of Transportation’s national roadway safety strategy addresses the administration’s goal for the program.

“Automated speed enforcement, if deployed equitably and applied appropriately to roads with the greatest risk of harm due to speeding, can provide significant safety benefits and save lives.” LL

More Land Line coverage of news from Louisiana.

 

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.