3/30/2009Georgia: Proposal Would Investigate Cities Ignoring Yellow Time Law
Georgia House of Representatives may investigate cities that disobey red light camera law.
A Georgia state lawmaker wants to know the best way to force local jurisdictions to obey a new law governing photo enforcement systems. House Resolution 774, sponsored by state Representative Barry Loudermilk (R-Cassville), would create the "House Study Committee on Compliance by Local Governments with the Red Light Camera Law" in response to evidence that cities are operating automated ticketing programs without complying with Georgia Code 40-14-22. This legal provision, which took effect January 1, mandates a one-second extension of the duration of the yellow warning phase at red light camera intersections. As TheNewspaper first reported earlier this month, several jurisdictions are openly flouting the law.
"Federal guidelines are that minimum yellow light times are three to six seconds," Loudermilk explained in his weekly column. "The intention of the law is that the minimum time of the yellow light in any intersection with a red light camera should not be less than four seconds... Unfortunately, some cities have refused to comply with state law and have not increased their yellow light times."
Atlanta, for example, has flat-out refused to alter its yellow times with the majority of monitored intersections having yellow times that last less than 4.0 seconds. Roswell has intersection approaches set at 3.5 seconds, also in defiance of state law. Of the cities that are known to have complied, Duluth, Lilburn, Norcross, Rome, Snellville and Suwanee have dropped or are considering dropping photo enforcement because the yellow time extension immediately cut violations -- and revenue -- by eighty percent.
Loudermilk's resolution is intended to create a "careful and thorough study of this issue" for consideration when the General Assembly meets again in 2010. In an interview, Loudermilk said that at this late point in the current legislative session the most sensible response was to form an investigative panel. This five-member committee would have full authority to call witnesses and gather the evidence needed to produce a legislative recommendation while putting local officials on the hot seat.
Loudermilk expects consideration of the resolution as early as this week. If passed by the state House, the measure would take effect immediately without the need for state Senate passage or the signature of Governor Sonny Perdue (R).
The text of the resolution is available in a 25k PDF file at the source link below.