Bill reining in red-light, speed cameras on way to governor

Bill reining in red-light, speed cameras on way to governor

May 21st, 2011 by Andy Sher in Local - Breaking News

NASHVILLE - Efforts to tamp down local governments' use of traffic-enforcement cameras is speeding toward Gov. Bill Haslam's desk.

House members today voted 82-2 for the bill, sponsored by Rep. Vince Dean, R-East Ridge. It passed the Senate earlier today, 29-0.

"It doesn't do all the things that a lot of people wanted, but it does do a lot of things everybody can agree on," Dean told colleagues.

The bill caps several years of efforts to rein in what critics say is cities' abusive use of red-light and speed cameras.

Opponents have tried to ban the cameras but have been stymied by cities such as Chattanooga and private vendors who contract with them in lucrative fine-sharing contracts.

Dean said his bill defines and bans speed traps, in which speed limits suddenly plummet just before a motorist encounters a camera.

Cities could no longer use cameras to ticket motorists for making a rolling-stop turn on red unless the intersection has a sign banning right turns on red.

Local governments also would be required to have studies done to demonstrate a camera would address genuine safety problems.

Rep. Matthew Hill, R-Jonesboro, a fierce critic of the cameras, thanked Dean for bringing the bill, noting he has a problem in his district.

"Once and for all, this horrible speed trap in Bluff City will end," Hill said.