House committee flashes red light at traffic camera ban bill

Published: May. 8, 2017 at 12:00 PM CDT|Updated: May. 8, 2017 at 3:40 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, LA (WVUE) - A bill that would have allowed voters chose whether to ban controversial traffic ticket cameras in Louisiana failed to get out of committee Monday morning.

Covington Republican Paul Hollis, who pushed the bill, said he is disappointed the measure did not make it out of the House Transportation, Highways, and Public Works Committee.

Hollis proposed the amendment saying the cameras are a money grab, used by fiscally strapped cities as a way to generate money rather than a safety mechanism.

The city of New Orleans argues the cameras are needed and a make streets safer.

New Orleans Police Department officials testified at the hearing

In arguing their effectiveness, the city contends that since January of this year, cameras have captured 11,000 violations in school zones. Of those drivers getting tickets, 80 percent of the people who pay never get another ticket.

However, crash data collected by LSU shows the roads may not be safer.

Louisiana recorded 5,000 more accidents last year than when the cameras were first installed nearly a decade ago.

Those numbers are one reason Hollis wants to see the cameras removed.

"It's a violation of your basic constitutional rights and that's your right to confront your accuser," Hollis said. "You get something in the mail and assessing this kind of fine then I believe they double it if you don't pay it."

The bottom line is, Hollis said, people in Louisiana want to rid our state of these for good.

Another bill in the Legislature taking aim at traffic cameras would allow them to remain in place but would require highly visible signage at least 500 feet away from all cameras.

That would include the city's new mobile units.

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