2/18/2021Virus Scare Being Used To Advance Indiana, Virginia Speed Cameras
Indiana House advances a bill to install speed cameras on freeways while Virginia jurisdictions race to become first to install photo radar.
Politicians in several states are using the virus scare to expand the use of automated ticketing machines while the public's attention is elsewhere. The Indiana House of Representatives on Wednesday gave preliminary approval to a bill that would authorize the use of speed cameras on freeway throughout the state where the limit has been temporarily reduced to 45 MPH.
To make the measure seem more benign, it was referred to as a "pilot project," but the legislative language permanently authorizes the use of speed cameras in designated highway work zones. An effort by state Representative Curt Nisly (R-Milford) to scale back the bill by preventing information sharing with traffic camera companies failed on a 10 to 88 vote. Photo radar vans will be hitting Indiana highways if it clears a final House vote and is endorsed by the state Senate and Governor Eric Holcomb (R).
Unlike the Indiana House that held a fifteen minute debate on the issue, the Virginia General Assembly passed its speed camera authorization law last year without any discussion or public announcement whatsoever. Local jurisdictions are now rushing to become the first to install the devices.
The Fauquier County Board of Supervisors last week approved an ordinance that would let private companies operate speed cameras on main roads that happen to be near schools. Arlington was next, as a board of supervisors panel reviewing police practices on Monday formally recommended that private companies set up photo radar devices to issue automated speeding tickets in the name of racial justice.
In places like Ohio and Missouri, Ohio and Texas, the NAACP has actively opposed the use of automated ticketing machines because the private companies that operate them have a long history of installing the devices in locations where minorities live. The Arlington traffic justice subcommittee brushed aside those concerns to issue its formal recommendation.
"[The Arlington Board of Supervisors should] advocate with the Virginia State legislature for increased ability to expand red light/speed cameras beyond construction and school zones," the subcommittee wrote on Monday. "Automated ticket enforcement has the potential to improve safety, reduce unnecessary interactions between residents and police, and further advance confidence in equitable outcomes by reducing or eliminating the possibility of race- and ethnicity-based disparities in traffic enforcement."
Before issuing the recommendation, the group met with members of the traffic ticketing industry, including the International Association of Chief of Police, which represents departments that use cameras, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which represents the insurance companies that increase rates on automated ticket recipients in states like Arizona and California.
A copy of the Indiana bill is available in a 200k PDF file at the source link below.