Wisconsin bill would bring red-light cameras to Milwaukee

December 8, 2021

Keith Goble

|

Activity at the Wisconsin statehouse would greenlight the city of Milwaukee to use automated enforcement to ticket drivers.

State law now prohibits the use of automated enforcement tools.

One bill in the Assembly Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee would add the city to the more than 500 communities around the country to employ the use of red-light or speed cameras to nab drivers who disobey traffic rules. Specifically, AB739 would authorize the city of Milwaukee to use up to 75 red-light and speed cameras.

Touted to combat reckless driving

Rep. LaKeshia Myers, D-Milwaukee, says the change is needed to address concern about reckless driving in the city. She adds that law enforcement needs help from the state to address the issue.

“It is incumbent on policymakers to use every available tool to help alleviate this problem, and red-light cameras are one such mechanism that can aid in that process,” Myers said in a recent news release.

The Milwaukee Common Council first must enact an ordinance to allow the Milwaukee Police Department to use the ticket devices.

The bill specifies that tickets could only be issued for speeding by at least 20 mph over the posted limit. Violators would face fines between $40 and $100 – the same as current traffic signal violations.

The program would have a five-year sunset date.

A 2017 study by Case Western Reserve University found that red-light cameras changed the types of wrecks occurring, but not the frequency of wrecks or injuries.

An identical Senate bill, SB741, is in the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee.

Highway safety initiative

Another bill signed into law by Gov. Tony Evers is intended to protect first responders from unnecessary and preventable danger while on the scene of vehicle incidents.

Specifically, AB297 creates an emergency response area, similar to a work zone. In the affected area, fines would double for speeding, reckless driving, and other traffic citations. Additionally, drivers are prohibited from using a cell phone while driving through an emergency response area.

The affected area is defined as the section of roadway within 500 feet of emergency vehicles.

Rep. Amy Loudenbeck, R-Clinton, said the new rule “will protect first responders from unnecessary and preventable danger.”

If a driver causes bodily harm to workers engaged in highway maintenance, construction, utility work, emergency response, or roadside response, they would face up to $10,000 fines and/or nine months in jail.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation is required to conduct an advertising campaign to notify the public about the rule change. LL

More Land Line coverage of news from Wisconsin.

 

Lucas Oil

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.