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1/28/2006
West Virginia Proposal Would Ban Photo Enforcement
A West Virginia House committee is pushing to ban all photo enforcement from the state.

Randy Swartzmiller
The West Virginia House Roads and Transportation Committee wants to ban photo enforcement before it can gain a foothold in the state, joining the Commonwealth of Virginia which banned photo enforcement last July. In a meeting Wednesday, committee members considered legislation introduced by Randy Swartzmiller (D-Hancock) that would allow the use of cameras so long as a police officer was a witness and handed the motorist a copy of the ticket at the time of the offense. Swartzmiller thought this would remove both the constitutional problems with the devices and the revenue motive, but committee members thought it didn't go far enough.

"We've pretty much voted to eliminate the devices," committee chairman Brent Boggs (D-Braxton) told the Gazette-Mail newspaper. "I'm just afraid this would turn into a cash-cow."

The House Judiciary Committee must now consider the revised proposal. Swartzmiller introduced the bill along with six co-sponsors in response to complaints from constituents who had been ticketed by the speed camera in nearby Steubenville, Ohio.

"They're not accurate and there is no appeal process," Swartzmiller said. "We're trying to promote tourism, not speed traps."

Article Excerpt:
Original proposal before committee amendment:

West Virginia House of Delegates
H. B. 4004
(By Delegates Swartzmiller, Ennis, Beach, Kominar, R.M. Thompson, Talbott and Boggs)

[Introduced January 11, 2006; referred to the Committee on Roads and Transportation then the Judiciary.]

A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new section, designated 17C-3-4c, relating to allowing the use of a traffic law photo-monitoring device to detect traffic law violations only if a law-enforcement officer is present at the location of the device and issues tickets at the time and location of the violations.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated §17C-3-4c, to read as follows:

ARTICLE 3. TRAFFIC SIGNS, SIGNALS AND MARKINGS.

§17C-3-4c. Use of traffic law photo-monitoring device to detect traffic law violations.


(a) As used in this section:
(1) "Law-enforcement agency" means any law-enforcement agency of a local authority;
(2) "Law-enforcement officer" means any law-enforcement officer employed by a law-enforcement agency of a local authority;
(3) "Local authority" means a municipal corporation or county; and
(4) "Traffic law photo-monitoring device" means an electronic system consisting of a photographic, video, or electronic camera and a means of sensing the presence of a motor vehicle that automatically produces photographs, videotape, or digital images of the vehicle, its operator, or its license plate.
(b) A local authority may authorize the law-enforcement agency of that local authority to utilize a traffic law photo-monitoring device within its boundaries to determine compliance with, or to detect a violation, of a municipal ordinance or any provision of the West Virginia Code that governs or regulates the operation of motor vehicles only if the traffic law photo-monitoring device is utilized and operated for such purposes only when a law-enforcement officer is present at the location of the traffic law photo-monitoring device and issues tickets, citations, or summonses at the time and location of the traffic law violations.
(c) The State Police may utilize a traffic law photo-monitoring device to determine compliance with, or to detect a violation of, any provision of the West Virginia Code that governs or regulates the operation of motor vehicles only if a State Police trooper is present at the location of the traffic law photo-monitoring device and issues tickets, citations, or summonses at the time and location of the traffic law violations.
Source: House may outlaw speed trap radar (Charleston Gazette-Mail (WV), 1/28/2006)



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