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6/3/2009
Maine Bans Photo Enforcement
Maine governor signs into law a total ban on red light cameras and speed cameras.

State Rep. Rich Cebra
Maine last week became the fourteenth state to ban the use of red light cameras and speed cameras. Governor John Baldacci (D) signed into law a bill introduced by Representative Richard Cebra (R-Naples) that prohibits the use of a "traffic surveillance camera to prove or enforce a violation" of traffic laws. Cebra's measure sailed through the legislative process with almost no opposition at any stage of the process.

"While on the surface these cameras may appear to increase public safety, recent studies have shown that they actually increase the occurrences of accidents at intersections where the public is aware that there is a camera," Cebra said in a statement. "The placement of these cameras is also a civil rights issue, creating the issuing of a summons and possible fines and jail time to the owner of a vehicle and not necessarily the actual driver of the vehicle. In many places around the country, these cameras have become nothing more than a money-maker for municipalities."

The issue of automated enforcement was first raised in March by state Representative Donald Pilon (D-Saco) who wanted to give municipalities the right to install red light cameras throughout Maine. His idea backfired. When Pilon's bill came before the Joint Standing Committee on Transportation, not one member voted in favor of the proposal. Cebra followed up with his prohibition measure which was greeted with unanimous committee approval in April. It cleared the full state Senate under a suspended rules procedure used for non-controversial measures, but an amendment was added in the House to allow the use of toll road cameras. Thus modified, the legislation cleared both chambers on May 21 with overwhelming support.

The law formally takes effect ninety days after the legislature adjourns, which would be September 15 according to the latest schedule. Earlier this year, Mississippi and Montana enacted photo enforcement bans. View the full list of states that ban traffic cameras.

Article Excerpt:
LD 1234
An Act To Regulate the Use of Traffic Surveillance Cameras
Be it enacted by the People of the State of Maine as follows:

Sec. 1. 29-A MRSA Section 2117 is enacted to read:

Section 2117. Use of traffic surveillance cameras restricted

The State or a municipality may not use a traffic surveillance camera to prove or enforce a violation of this Title. For purposes of this section, "traffic surveillance camera" means a device that, in conjunction with a lighted traffic-control device or a lane direction control device, as described in section 2057, subsections 1 and 3, or a speed measurement device as described in section 2075, subsection 4, automatically produces one or more photographs, one or more microphotographs, a videotape or any other recorded image of a vehicle at the time the vehicle is operated in violation of state law.

This section does not apply to a photo-monitoring system, as defined by Title 23, section 1980, subsection 2-A, paragraph B, subparagraph 4, used by the Maine Turnpike Authority for toll enforcement purposes.

Effective 90 days following adjournment of the 124th Legislature, First Regular Session, unless otherwise indicated.


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