2/6/2014South Dakota House Near Unanimous On Photo Ticketing Ban
South Dakota House votes 69-1 in favor of prohibiting speed and red light cameras.
In the South Dakota House of Representatives, Democrats and Republicans agree on one thing: They do not want red light cameras or speed cameras operating in the state. By a vote of 69 to 1 on Wednesday, lower chamber lawmakers gave final approval to a photo ticketing ban that leaves no room for private companies to mail citations to residents.
"No state, county, municipal, or township authority may use photo radar speed detection to determine compliance with any speed restriction imposed by this chapter or by any local ordinance," House Bill 1100 states. "No state, county, municipal, or township authority may use a photo monitoring device to detect any red light violation."
State Representative Peggy Gibson (D-Huron) on Wednesday listed the problems that spurred her to introduce the bill banning cameras.
"Red light cameras are not the most effective way of reducing red light violations," Gibson said. "Red light cameras are used primarily used to raise money and not improve safety. Ticket recipients are not notified quickly out of the offense, and there's no guarantee of delivery of the citation because it goes through US mail. There is no certifiable witness to the supposed violation."
South Dakota's courts have agreed with Gibson that there are due process problems with the cameras. In 2006, I.L. Wiedermann sued Sioux Falls after he received a ticket from Redflex Traffic Systems in the mail. In June 2010, a state circuit court judge ruled that the Sioux Falls camera ordinance violates state law because it "decriminalizes" the running of red lights, which the state classifies as a misdemeanor (view decision).
"Everywhere else in the state, running a red light amounts to a criminal penalty, similar to a speeding ticket," Gibson said. "Criminal penalties can be appealed in the court system; however, automated tickets are civil penalties similar to parking tickets. And civil penalties provide less recourse for drivers that want to contest them."
Gibson's bill cleared the state House in 2011, but it faced opposition. This time, one of the former red light camera proponents explained the new thinking in the chamber.
"A couple of years ago when this came through the last time, I supported these lights," state Representative Steve Hickey (R-Minnehaha) said. "I've come to believe these aren't good. I watched that case in Sioux Falls go down, and I do believe that guy's rights were infringed upon. This is a bill that I've shifted my thinking."
If the bill clears the state Senate and receives the signature of Governor Dennis Daugaard (R), South Dakota will join the fifteen other states that ban the prohibit the use of automated ticketing machines (view list). A copy of the bill is available in a 15k PDF file at the source link below.