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6/19/2010
South Carolina Bans Photo Enforcement
South Carolina governor signs law banning speed cameras and red light cameras. Legislature passes measure unanimously.

SC Governor Mark Sanford
South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford (R) last week signed a law banning the use of red light cameras and speed cameras in the state. The measure swept unanimously through the House, 106 to 0, on June 3 and in the Senate 38 to 0 on June 2. So far, fifteen states have taken legislative or judicial action to prohibit the use of automated ticketing machines. In addition, the voters in ten cities have thrown out photo enforcement by referendum (view complete list). South Carolina's law takes effect immediately.

Since 2006, the state had relied on an attorney general's ruling (view opinion) to keep cities from installing cameras. Ridgeland Mayor Gary W Hodges believed that he could ignore the ruling and install cameras on his personal authority. He signed a five-year contract with iTraffic, a private company that offered to operate a speed camera van on Interstate 95 trapping passing tourists in return for a cut of the profit generated. Bill Danzell set up iTraffic after his previous photo enforcement venture, Nestor Traffic Systems, went bankrupt. Now local sources suggest Hodges is considering running his freeway ticketing program in defiance of the new law, claiming his system will use more than just a photograph to prove a violation.

The new law states that photo tickets may not be used except during emergencies declared by the governor or president. In case of such an emergency, the camera ticket must be personally delivered by a police officer within one hour.

"A person who receives a citation for violating traffic laws relating to speeding or disregarding traffic control devices based solely on photographic evidence must be served in person with notice of the violation within one hour of the occurrence of the violation," South Carolina Code Section 56-5-70, effective June 11, states.

This emergency allowance of cameras was included to make the camera ban amendment germane to legislation dealing with the use of golf carts during declared emergencies. Lawmakers saw no practical way that a photo enforcement system could be used under those conditions. View the new law in a 20k PDF file at the source link below.

Source: PDF File Section 56-5-70 (South Carolina Code Of Laws, 6/11/2010)



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