5/8/2008Colorado: Freeway Photo Radar Approved
Colorado approves freeway speed cameras. Creates possibity of ticket for failing to move over for photo radar van.
The Colorado state legislature gave its final approval last week to legislation allowing the use of speed cameras in highway work zones. The move was part of a series of bills designed to raise $18.1 million annually for the state budget through increased traffic fine amounts and expanded ticketing operations. The latest measure was approved by a 61-2 margin in the state House and 22-12 in the state Senate. Governor Bill Ritter (D) has indicated his intention to sign the bill into law next week.
The new program will first create a "work zone" where speed limits are lowered and fines doubled for up to four hours before any worker actually shows up. During this time, conventional police enforcement would issue newly boosted fines of up to $540 each. Once a highway worker arrives, a private company can activate photo radar vans capable of issuing thousands of citations per day. The Colorado Department of Transportation would pay this company a bounty for each ticket it is able to issue using gas tax money.
The legislation then makes it possible for police to ticket any vehicle that passes a speed camera van that is parked on the side of the road if the motorist had been in an adjacent lane and failed to "move over" to the left. Several states already require motorists to take similar actions for marked ambulances and police cars, but Colorado will become the first to add "privately owned vehicles as are designated by the state motor vehicle licensing agency necessary to the preservation of life and property." Tow trucks "approved by the public utilities commission" would also fall under this broad definition of safety vehicles.
In 2006, Illinois pioneered the concept of using freeway work zone speed cameras to generate millions in the name of protecting construction workers. Studies show that only 15 percent of freeway construction zone injuries are actually caused by automobiles. The vast majority of work zone "vehicle" accidents were found to involve workers injured by their own construction equipment.
A full copy of the legislation is available in a 55k PDF file at the source link below.