General Assembly Votes Ban On Unmanned Speed Cameras Except At School Zones And S-Curves; Red Light Cameras Exempted

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Tennessee General Assembly on Wednesday voted to outlaw unmanned speed cameras used to issue traffic tickets. The House vote was 74-16-1 and in the Senate it was 29-1.

Chief Sponsor Rep. Andy Holt (R-Dresden) said, "My office has received thousands of phone calls and emails in support of this legislation from across the state. The outcry from the public is palpable. I was really honored to have more than 30 co-sponsors on this legislation. Especially Senate sponsor Todd Gardenhire.

"Multiple judges from across the country have thrown out traffic camera tickets due to their unconstitutional nature. 

"Tennesseans are tired of having their constitutional right to face their accuser sold to private out-of-state companies." 

The original intent of the bill was to outlaw red light cameras and speed cameras. However, the bill was stripped of some of its elements through the committee process. Currently, the ban only outlaws speed cameras. However, school zones and a s-curve roads will still be able to utilize the cameras.

Rep. Holt says he will continue to work towards outlawing red light cameras next year.

"It's very rare that you get everything you want. However, I am really happy that we were able to take a step in the right direction. We're not going to quit fighting for our constituents' rights."

Proponents of the cameras argue that they are a safety measure. Rep. Holt said the evidence proves otherwise.

"The truth is, almost all studies showing that cameras improve safety are sponsored by the very companies and municipalities that make millions of dollars off of them. Virtually every non-biased, peer reviewed study shows that the cameras actually have either a negative effect, or no change at all regarding safety. At best, the evidence is inconclusive. Regardless, we have to realize that we cannot sell our rights for the guise of safety."

HB1372 awaits Governor Bill Haslam's signature. 


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