1/18/2011Traffic Camera Companies Renew Push in Indiana
Members of Indiana General Assembly leadership introduce legislation promoting photo enforcement.
The residents of six cities with a combined population of over 2.7 million voted last year to outlaw the use of automated ticketing machines on their streets. The photo enforcement industry is now working overtime to make up for lost ground by expanding operations into states where neither red light cameras nor speed cameras have been well received. Lobbyists are hopeful that Indiana could be the next state to reconsider.
Powerful members of the General Assembly earlier this month introduced legislation to authorize the use of traffic cameras. House Majority Leader William C. Friend (R-Elkhart) introduced House Bill 1199 authorizing the widespread use of speed cameras. Senate Majority Caucus Chairman Jim Merrit (R-Marion County) authored a companion measure, Senate Bill 527, legalizing red light cameras. Photo ticketing vendor Affiliated Computer Services (ACS) has given lawmakers $51,650 with most of the funds directed to the House and Senate Republican campaign committees and Republican Governor Mitch Daniels. Democrats have also gotten in on the action. In October, Arizona-based camera company American Traffic Solutions gave state Representative Pat Bauer (D-South Bend) $1000. State Representative Shelli VanDenburgh (D-Lake County) cosponsored the speed camera bill.
This legislation allows the state highway department to lower the speed limit on a freeway or a locality to designate a "work zone" where a photo radar device would be set up to issue tickets worth $300 for a first offense to $1000 for a third. The systems could also be used in school zones during times when class is in session. Tickets would be mailed within six business days of the alleged violation and notice must be sent by certified mail.
The Senate red light camera bill gives the private company up to sixty days to drop the $150 ticket into a regular mail box. The state government would take a thirty percent share of the net profit from citations issued by municipalities and would suspend the registration of any vehicle owner that did not receive or respond to a ticket. The measure also repeals the definition of "official traffic control devices" under Indiana law, allowing private corporations to regulate traffic instead of the "authority of a public body."
If adopted, the laws would take effect in July 2011. A copy of SB 527 is available in a 350k PDF file at the source link below.