State Rep. Wayne Schmidt today introduced legislation that would give local communities the option to install red-light safety cameras in their municipalities.
“Local governments should be given control over whether they want to use this kind of technology in their communities,” said Schmidt, R-Traverse City and chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. “This legislation will give more local control to our municipalities while offering a safer environment for the people who live in these communities. It also incorporates best practices learned from other communities.”
House Bill 4763 would give local communities the opportunity to approve an ordinance allowing the cameras to be installed at only the most dangerous intersections and would require the yellow-light timing at those intersections meet state uniform standards. The bill has gained the support of local law enforcement officials.
“Giving local communities the ability to install red-light safety cameras will give law enforcement another tool to protect public safety,” said Charlevoix County Sheriff W.D. Schneider. “Red-light safety cameras will help to save lives by acting as an extra deterrent to prevent individuals from committing traffic violations.”
Under the legislation, vehicle owners would be sent a ticket once local police have reviewed the incident and have decided to issue a citation. A fine of $130 or less would then be issued by the local government. Local governments would have to place a sign within 500 feet of the intersection to alert motorists and wait for 30 days after the first day of public notice to be able to write citations for violations that occur. Any citations written because of the red-light cameras would only be a civil infraction and would not count on a driver’s record or against their insurance.
HB 4763 has been referred to the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
(Editor’s note: attached is a cost-benefit analysis of red-light safety cameras for Traverse City over five years as well as two recent stories about traffic accidents involving drivers who ran red-lights for background.)