published Thursday, April 15th, 2010

Traffic camera bill speeding in House

  • photo
    Staff File Photo by John Rawlston/Chattanooga Times Free Press - An amended bill restricting cities' use of traffic enforcement cameras is headed to the Tennessee House Finance Committee despite concerns raised by Chattanooga officials over some of the measure's provisions.

NASHVILLE -- An amended bill restricting cities' use of traffic enforcement cameras is headed to the House Finance Committee despite concerns raised by Chattanooga officials over some of the measure's provisions.

Transportation Committee members on Tuesday approved the bill, sponsored by the panel's chairman, Bill Harmon, D-Dunlap.

The bill includes a number of provisions from another amendment agreed to by cities, police chiefs and several other groups. For example, it would do away with a proposed two-year moratorium on new traffic light and speeding cameras.

But during the hearing, Chattanooga Police Department Lt. David Roddy pointed out the bill goes further in a number of areas, noting it would limit fines to no more than $50 and would prohibit cities from levying additional penalties on late payers.

"There is no incentive to pay" the fine, Lt. Roddy said.

Rep. Harmon said nothing in the bill prohibits cities from using collection agencies provided the information is not turned over credit agencies.

But Lt. Roddy also raised concerns about other provisions. That included a requirement that a three-year history of an intersection crash site must show it exceeds statewide averages before a traffic camera can be installed.

Lt. Roddy noted that traffic flows at an intersection may worsen quickly when a road or bridge is closed. He also raised concerns that language in the bill appears to require cities and not vendors operating the cameras to mail citations. That could prove costly to cities, he said.

Bill's Provisions

* After Jan. 1, no local government could place traffic enforcement cameras on any highway receiving state aid unless the contract with the private vendor is based solely on a set fee. Payments to the vendor no longer could be based on the percentage or number of traffic citations generated by the camera. That would affect Chattanooga and Red Bank.

* Traffic engineering studies would be required for all new traffic enforcement cameras. Cities first must have tried other engineering solutions to problems before using cameras. Local elected bodies in separate votes must approve engineering studies and the eventual placement of cameras.

Continue reading by following these links to related stories:

Times Editorial: Save cameras, nail scofflaws

Article: Traffic cameras on radar of lawmakers

Article: Smile, you're captured on speed cam

about Andy Sher...

Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...

Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
MountainJoe said...

Some improvement but not nearly enough. Just ban the *@%# things!

April 15, 2010 at 9:54 a.m.
elvisd said...

Please don't stop the cameras. It's Joe Glasscock's economic stimulus plan for Red Bank!

April 15, 2010 at 10:26 a.m.
cave_demon said...

These cameras are ILLEGAL and the cities know it. If you get a traffic camera ticket, DO NOT pay it! They are easy to fight with the "It wasn't me driving, prove who was driving" argument. The city will NEVER win if you challenge them. They rely on people being ignorant and gullible and then just pay up. The cameras are nothing but extortion attempts by Big Brother, and the government and police LIE their butts off in defending them as making the streets safer. I wonder what happens when a Chattanooga pig or city councilman speeds through and gets a ticket. You think they pay?

April 15, 2010 at 11:12 a.m.
tela78 said...

There is a fine line with the fines for these tickets. YOu don't want to gouge the public, but you don't want to make the fines to low as to not teach the lesson that the cameras are there for. People need to realize that these cameras do force drivers into paying more attention to what they are doing and in turn reduce accidents or near accidents.

April 15, 2010 at 3:30 p.m.
countrygirl71 said...

This bill seems extremely fair. I think the cameras do a great job of cutting down on dangerous behavior. These restrictions will do a great deal to ease the fears of some people in the community. I'm especially glad that the moratorium would be lifted if this passes, we need every available resource to make our streets safer.

April 15, 2010 at 4:26 p.m.
noogiefree said...

This bill seems too restrictive- especially with regards to the fines. If there is no incentive to pay- then the program is cut off at the knees from the start. And, if you send it to collections- the city won't get the majority of the money either- the collection agency will. The point is safer streets and cameras do act as a deterrent which makes the streets safer.

April 15, 2010 at 6:40 p.m.
dukhunr said...

I just wanted to say that since Red Bank installed these revenue enhancement devices, I have not spent one cent at any Red Bank businesses. I will not shop, trade, or buy from any business there. If I were a business owner in Red Bank, I would run for mayor/council and replace the current set of idiots in charge.

April 15, 2010 at 9:42 p.m.
john3347 said...

While I have no particular problem with the concept of traffic cameras - speed cameras, traffic light cameras, etc., I have HUGE issues with the way they work. Under the current administration methods these cameras should be POSITIVELY OUTLAWED!! The cities and other municipalities do not own or administer these cameras. These are owned, installed, calibrated, administered by the camera manufacturer who is paid a percentage of the take as their compensation. The manufacturer of the devices should be paid a fair retail price for the cameras and an independent party with no financial incentive to cheat must calibrate them. The present system is "having the fox guard the chicken house".

April 15, 2010 at 10:12 p.m.
please login to post a comment

Other National Articles

videos »         

photos »         

e-edition »


Find a Business

400 East 11th St., Chattanooga, TN 37403
General Information (423) 756-6900
Copyright, Permissions, Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Ethics policy - Copyright ©2014, Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved.
This document may not be reprinted without the express written permission of Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc.