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Lawmakers Focusing on Possible New Traffic-Camera Rules

House lawmakers examining the use of high-tech traffic enforcement tools plan on introducing bills next year that could create guidelines on where cameras could be used, and lengthening the duration of a yellow light before it turns red. Also under discussion is prohibiting speed-limit enforcement and stoplight cameras altogether.

Traffic cameras may be growing in popularity among local governments and law enforcement agencies across the country, but some state lawmakers are questioning whether they belong in Tennessee.

Some say the cameras – which snap pictures when motorists drive through a stop light – are simply a tool to raise money.

“There’s no doubt that in some places it’s not about safety. It’s about revenue,” said Rep. Richard Floyd, a Chattanooga Republican.

House lawmakers examining the use of the high-tech traffic enforcement tools plan on introducing bills next year that could create statewide guidelines on the sorts of intersections where cameras could be used, and lengthening the duration of a yellow light before it turns red.

New Johnsonville Democrat John Tidwell, a civil engineer, said yield signals made one second longer will help reduce vehicle crashes, and he hinted he’ll push that issue in the coming session.

Also under discussion are laws to prohibit speeding-enforcement and stoplight-cameras completely.

The cameras are typically operated by private companies that set up the equipment, snap photos, evaluate violations and mail tickets to vehicle owners. Those organizations also receive a chunk of the revenues collected by violators, which is adding to the unease and outright opposition some critics are voicing.

Red-light cameras are under fire right now in a lawsuit arguing that traffic enforcement systems are operating illegally because they’re not properly licensed. Other suits attacking the practice have cropped up around the country.

Lawmakers Tuesday heard from Gordon Catlett, a patrol-support commander for the Knoxville Police Patrol Division who is a supporter of the cameras – and threat of a ticket – to change driver behavior.

“A lot of us treat a traffic signal like a yield sign,” he said.

The Transportation Committee will meet again Wednesday morning to discuss possible alternatives to traffic cameras, and ways to tinker with the system already in place.

3 replies on “Lawmakers Focusing on Possible New Traffic-Camera Rules”

> I think most states do not use these cameras for any reason other than to
> raise money.

And what’s wrong with this? I hope Tennessee makes all kinds of money if it means it will help bring down the number of our citizens being slaughtered on our streets because of the CRIMINALS who feel traffic laws apply do not apply to them. Yes, criminals. When you exceed posted speed limits, fail to stop at posted intersections or run through redlights, not only are you are breaking the law you are endangering everyone around you. People that break the law are criminals. Criminals are to be punished. If our cash-strapped state can help allieviate a small part of our fiscal delima by prosecuting criminals and collecting fines and fees from them – what’s the problem?

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