Tuesday, April 1, 2014

National News: South Dakota Bans Enforcement of Photo Tickets

From TheNewspaper.com:
South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard (R) has signed one of the strongest photo ticketing bans in the nation. Not only will red light cameras be banned in South Dakota, but South Dakota residents will be immune to automated citations issued in most other states.
Lawmakers in Pierre overwhelmingly favored a straightforward ban on the use of red light cameras. Earlier this month, the state Senate voted 26 to 9 on the ban that had cleared the state House in February by a 69 to 1 margin.
"No state, county, municipal, or township authority may contract with any private corporation to provide for the use of any photo monitoring device to detect any red light violation," the new law, House Bill 1100, states.
South Dakota's experiment in photo ticketing ended in 2010 after a circuit court judge struck down the red light camera operation in Sioux Falls as illegal (view decision). The judge ruled that the city violated state law in creating a program that turned the misdemeanor of red light running into a civil penalty without authorization from the legislature.
The governor went further however, proposing to ban enforcement of speed cameras citations issued by the next door state of Iowa on highways traveling between the two states, by blocking photo ticketing companies from converting license plate numbers into the name and address of South Dakota Vehicle Owners.  A second bill, HB1122, was created and approved, which forbids turning information over to NLETS, a system used by photo enforcement companies for processing tickets.  House Bill 1122 states:
"The Department of Public Safety and the Division of Motor Vehicles shall not provide information used to impose or collect a civil fine that results from a violation captured by a red light camera or speed camera through any existing interstate compact that does not specifically allow, or require, information to be shared for that explicit purpose." 
The statutes will take effect on July 1.
Source: http://thenewspaper.com/news/43/4372.asp

While Maryland has seemed to be an exception, the number of communities using red light cameras in the US actually declined by 6% in 2013.  Some photo enforcement companies have begun to see their revenues stagger as a result of this decline, and also because of serious problems with large municipal camera programs in Baltimore and Chicago.