Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Those red-light cameras going away?

The Indiana Lawyer reports they might be. From State puts brakes on red-light cameras:

"Green means go, red means stop. Motorists know that well, and in a 21st century society embracing technology on every front, it might not seem out of the ordinary to wonder if someone’s watching to make sure motorists are stopping when they should.

Not in Indiana, at least not at the moment.

The Indiana Attorney General’s Office has put the brakes on municipalities passing ordinances for the use of traffic light cameras in catching red-light runners. The state agency issued an official legal opinion Aug. 8, saying that any local ordinances or rules allowing the traffic control measures are illegal until state lawmakers first pass a statute allowing locals to move forward with those plans."


>Most recently, the attorney general’s opinion put the burden on legislators to decide how to proceed on red-light cameras. Sen. Earline Rogers, D-Gary, asked about the power of a municipality to implement those programs using stationary cameras to digitally photograph license plates of any vehicles entering an intersection on a red light. Hammond launched a pilot program in June for that, but at the time it was unclear whether state legislation was first needed before the ordinance could be adopted. Once the photos were taken, a private company operating the system would mail the tickets after a police review. Fines of $100 would be assessed and the tickets would be considered non-moving violations, similar to parking tickets.

Other communities including Gary, Hobart, Lafayette, and West Lafayette have expressed interest in the idea, which has grown more popular and controversial nationally. But the AG’s Office says no.

“A red-light camera ordinance would be an invalid attempt to locally regulate conduct that is already regulated by a state agency,” Attorney General Steve Carter wrote, noting that the General Assembly must first pass legislation. “Unless expressly granted authority by statute, a local governmental entity’s passage of such an ordinance would be in contravention of the state’s home rule law at Indiana Code Section 36-1-3-8(a)(7).”