Virginia bill to add speed cameras gets governor’s backing

April 13, 2020

Keith Goble

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A strong push this year at the Virginia statehouse to get speed cameras authorized for certain stretches of roadways around the state appears to be a success.

One bill on the governor’s desk to authorize automated enforcement on roadways marks the second time in as many sessions that state lawmakers have approved legislation on the topic.

Governor stepped in

A year ago Virginia state legislators overwhelmingly approved a bill to permit the state police to use speed cameras in highway work zones.

Gov. Ralph Northam used his authority over legislation to recommend that state lawmakers reconsider the issue during the 2020 regular session before approving any changes. The state’s Constitution permits the governor to sign, veto or propose changes to legislation that is sent to his desk.

“The provisions of the first and second enactments of this act shall not become effective unless reenacted by the 2020 session of the General Assembly,” Northam stated in his amendment to the 2019 version.

Specifically, he was concerned about the revenue distribution formula that largely benefited the State Police. The state’s school system would receive a much smaller portion of net profits.

Second time’s the charm for speed cameras

At the Democratic governor’s direction, a slew of lawmakers in his party this year introduced legislation to greenlight the use of speed cameras.

At least a dozen bills on the topic were introduced for consideration in both chambers.

The version approved by Senate lawmakers 23-17 and by House lawmakers 49-43 would allow state and local police to post speed cameras in highway work zones and in school zones. The bill, HB1442, was approved mostly along party lines.

Automated tickets would be generated for vehicles exceeding the posted speed limit in affected areas by more than 10 mph. Violators would be mailed citations not to exceed $100.

Signs would be required to be posted within 1,000 feet of any speed camera.

A private camera company would receive information on vehicles in violation. The company would be responsible for sending out tickets after a law enforcement officer reviews each summons.

Revenue from citations issued by the State Police would be paid into the state’s literary fund. Citations issued by local police would stay with the locality.

What’s next?

The governor took action on Saturday, April 11, to approve the bill with one recommendation for change. The minor change must be agreed to by both chambers to become law. If the chambers do not agree to the change, the bill would die.

More Land Line coverage of news from Virginia 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.