3/20/2006Tennessee: Proposal Would Create Speed Trap Signs
Tennessee legislator proposes to identify speed trap towns with special speed limit signs.
The Tennessee General Assembly's House Public Transportation and Highways subcommittee is expected to consider a bill tomorrow that would use speed limit signs to identify speed trap towns. House Bill 3864 would force municipalities that collect one-half of their revenue from speeding tickets to use blue speed limit signs, alerting motorists to the possibility that the limits have been artificially lowered for revenue purposes.
The bill, introduced by Chris Crider (R-Milan), stipulates that the new signs must comply with federal regulations. However, an expert on the the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices says the proposal would effectively make speed limits unenforceable in speed trap towns.
"The guidelines are quite clear -- they can't," said Chad Dornsife with the Best Highway Safety Practices Institute. "The law is black and white."
HOUSE BILL 3864
AN ACT to amend Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 55, Chapter 8, relative to speed limits on public roads and highways.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE:
SECTION 1. Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 55-8-152(f)(1)(C), is amended by designating the present language as subdivision (C)(i) and by adding the following language as subdivision (C)(ii):
(C)(ii) Any municipality which derives fifty percent (50%) or more of its annual revenue from fines and costs associated with speeding tickets shall post the speed limits on the public roads and highways within its jurisdiction using blue signage.
SECTION 2. The erection of any speed limit signs required by Section 1 shall be within the guidelines prescribed by the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.
SECTION 3. This act shall become operative only if the federal highway administrator advises the commissioner of transportation in writing that the provisions of this act shall not render Tennessee in violation of federal laws and regulations and subject to penalties prescribed therein.
SECTION 4. This act shall take effect July 1, 2006, the public welfare requiring it.