Judge Upholds State’s Traffic Camera Law

Two camera enforcement companies have lost a bid to overturn a state law that prohibits fining drivers for improper right turns on red if the only evidence is photographic, reports the News Sentinel.
And despite predictions that the law that went into effect last July would cause an increase in wrecks, statistics in Knoxville refute that contention
Knox County Chancellor Michael W. Moyers’ 27-page decision signed May 30 addresses a multitude of arguments brought by American Traffic Solutions, Inc., and Redflex Traffic Systems, Inc., asking him to declare the law unconstitutional.
ATS, based in Scottsdale, Ariz., provides camera enforcement equipment for 14 intersections in Knoxville. Redflex, based in Phoenix, Ariz., has equipped four intersections in Farragut with photo enforcement devices.
. “The challenged law does not in any way amend or modify the rules regarding making right turns at a red light,” Moyers ruled. “Its only effect is to provide that some other evidence besides the camera footage standing alone is necessary to prosecute a violation for making an illegal right turn at intersections where right turns on red are otherwise allowed.”
…Moyers noted in his opinion that lawmakers concluded use of traffic cameras “to regulate illegal right turns is a measure directed more toward revenue generation than enhancing traffic safety.”
The companies argued lawmakers discussed including an exemption to the new law for photo enforcement contracts already in force. The lawsuit asked the court to find those contracts were exempt from the new law. Moyers shot that argument down.
“The Legislature was free to include such language within the bill; it chose not to,” the chancellor wrote. “The failure to include such language does not render the bill vague or ambiguous.”
Both photo enforcement companies argued the 2011 law, deemed Public Act 425, interfered with existing contracts with Farragut and Knoxville regarding collection of fines for improper right turns on red. That, the companies contended, made the new law unconstitutional.
Moyers, however, ruled in his summary judgment that Public Act 425 “is a constitutional expression of the Legislature’s police powers …”

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