The Subject of Louisiana’s Automated Bill Execution Cameras

A Louisiana state legislator is seeking to change rules on the use of automated enforcement cameras for ticket drivers.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, six locations in Louisiana, including Lafayette and New Orleans, use speed cameras. Red light cameras are installed in the cities of Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

Minimum fines are set at $60.

Voters would have their say

Rep. Paul Hollis, R-Covington, is behind a bill to add a question to the statewide November ballot asking voters whether automated surveillance cameras should be allowed.

Hollis cites concern that automated enforcement cameras are more about money than safety.

Proponents of the camera say using the devices allows police departments to focus their enforcement efforts elsewhere. Additionally, they say the $60 fine administered by ticket cameras is far less than the $160 citation an officer would issue for the same violation at a traffic stop.

The bill, HB85, would ask voters whether the state should prohibit municipalities or parishes from issuing ordinances for the use of automatic speed cameras to regulate traffic on any street, road or highway.

The rule would cover the use of devices to monitor speed with a traffic control signal or radar speed detection equipment, or both.

HB85 awaits review by the House Municipal, Parish, and Cultural Affairs Committee.

Ticket revenue restriction

A second Hollis bill would prohibit law enforcement from sharing traffic fine profits, fees or commissions with any private entity or company.

He says the change is needed because using ticket cameras is tantamount to “taking money”.

A tax analysis attached to the bill estimates that local government funds could grow without the need to send revenue to a private entity or company. Alternatively, local governments could choose to eliminate the use of ticketing cameras as they are no longer able to contract with a third-party vendor.

The bill, HB181, is at the House Transportation, Highways and Public Works Committee.

Federal Support for Automated Enforcement

The action comes as new federal guidelines allow states to tap into billions for traffic safety programs.

Earlier this year, US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg unveiled plans to deal with a record rise in the number of deaths on the country’s roads. Automated cameras were included among the tools identified to help reduce fatalities.

The Department of Transportation’s national road safety strategy meets the administration’s objective for the program.

“Automated speed enforcement, if deployed equitably and applied appropriately on roads with the greatest risk of damage from speeding, can provide significant safety benefits and save lives.” LL

More landline news coverage from Louisiana.

Jessica C. Bell