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3/24/2009
Photo Enforcement Banned in Mississippi
Mississippi governor signs comprehensive ban on red light cameras and speed cameras into law.

Governor Haley Barbour
As of last Friday, no jurisdiction had the authority to enter into a contract with a private company to operate either a red light cameras or speed camera system in the state of Mississippi. With a stroke of his pen, Governor Haley Barbour (R) had quietly signed into law one of the most comprehensive bans on photo enforcement in the country after the state legislature put the proposal on his desk with overwhelming bipartisan support.

The final tally in favor of House Bill 1568 was 111-9 in the state House and 42-9 in the state Senate, both veto-proof margins. As a result of the proposal becoming law, McComb, Natchez, Southaven and Tupelo must immediately stop their planned efforts to install automated ticketing machines. Columbus and Jackson have until October 1 to pull the plug on their operational devices. The Columbus City Council has already taken action to remove the city's lone camera at 14th Avenue and Waterworks Road.

Mississippi is not alone in moving to ban photo ticketing. A number of independent studies have shown that red light cameras actually increase the number of collisions at intersections where they are used (view studies). This fact has driven states around the country to turn against the use of photo ticketing. The Montana state Senate Highways and Transportation Committee yesterday held a hearing to consider a ban on traffic cameras that the House had passed in February (view bill).

In 2006, the West Virginia state legislature by overwhelming margins passed a photo ticketing ban into law. Alaska, Arkansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, Utah and Wisconsin have also banned automated citations through judicial or legislative action.

Article Excerpt:
MISSISSIPPI LEGISLATURE
2009 Regular Session
By: Representatives Blackmon, DuVall
House Bill 1568 (As Sent to Governor)

AN ACT TO PROHIBIT THE GOVERNING AUTHORITY OF ANY COUNTY OR MUNICIPALITY FROM ENACTING OR ENFORCING ORDINANCES AUTHORIZING THE USE OF AUTOMATED RECORDING EQUIPMENT OR SYSTEMS TO ENFORCE COMPLIANCE WITH OR TO IMPOSE OR COLLECT ANY FINE, FEE OR PENALTY FOR VIOLATION OF ANY TRAFFIC LAWS, RULES OR REGULATIONS ON ANY PUBLIC STREET, ROAD OR HIGHWAY WITHIN THIS STATE; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:

SECTION 1. (1) (a) Neither the board of supervisors of any county nor the governing authority of any municipality shall adopt, enact or enforce any ordinance authorizing the use of automated recording equipment or system to enforce compliance with traffic signals, traffic speeds or other traffic laws, rules or regulations on any public street, road or highway within this state or to impose or collect any civil or criminal fine, fee or penalty for any such violation.

(b) Any county or municipality using automated recording equipment or system shall remove the equipment or system before October 1, 2009.

(2) For the purposes of this section, the term "automated recording equipment or system" means a camera or optical device installed to work in conjunction with a traffic control signal or radar speed detection equipment or both and designed to record images that depict the license plate attached to the rear of a motor vehicle that is not operated in compliance with instructions of the traffic control signal or the posted speed limit.

SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.


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