5/2/2007Texas House Votes to Ban Speed Cameras
Texas state House votes to ban speed cameras.
The Texas state House of Representatives today approved legislation banning speed cameras. State Representative Vicki Truitt (R-Southlake) introduced the measure to combat the cities of Marble Falls and Rhome which have begun using automated speed traps without the legislature's authorization.
The financially strapped Nestor Inc. operates the programs in both cities. Motorists photographed while passing through Rhome on US 287 pay a $179 minimum ticket (an extra $4 is added for each MPH over the limit after 10 MPH). Motorists in State Highway 114 "construction" zones pay a $358 minimum ticket. Marble Falls charges $100 to motorists traveling on Highway 281 and RM1431. Tickets in both cities carry license demerit points against the owner of the photographed vehicle, regardless of whether he was driving or not.
Nestor pockets a $25 per-ticket bounty for every ticket it is able to issue, which is vital to the company's efforts to boost profits and avoid delisting from the Nasdaq stock exchange.
Truitt's bill gives the attorney general authority to stop municipalities from using any ticket camera that measures speed. The bill moves to the state Senate for its consideration. A number of states including Arkansas, Nevada, New Jersey, Utah and West Virginia have enacted laws banning speed cameras. Other states such as Alaska and Hawaii were forced to drop photo radar after the devices spurred public outrage.
Article Excerpt:By: Truitt H.B. No. 922
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
relating to the power of a municipality to enforce compliance withspeed limits by an automated traffic control system.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
SECTION 1. Subchapter B, Chapter 542, Transportation Code,is amended by adding Section 542.2035 to read as follows:
Sec. 542.2035. LIMITATION ON MUNICIPALITIES.
(a) A municipality may not implement or operate an automated traffic control system with respect to a highway under its jurisdiction. The attorney general shall enforce this subsection.
(b) In this section, "automated traffic control system" means a photographic device, radar device, laser device, or other electrical or mechanical device designed to:
(1) record the speed of a motor vehicle; and
(2) obtain one or more photographs or other recorded images of:
(A) the vehicle;
(B) the license plate attached to the vehicle; or
(C) the operator of the vehicle.
SECTION 2. This Act takes effect immediately if it receives a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution. If this Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this Act takes effect September 1, 2007.