INDIANAPOLIS | Automated enforcement cameras could be deployed in school and construction zones to snap photos of speeding vehicles and sock their owners with a $250 minimum fine under legislation approved Wednesday by a House committee.
State Rep. Ed Soliday, R-Valparaiso, the sponsor of House Bill 1368, claimed the cameras are not a cash grab for the local governments authorizing their use, but will improve road safety when children are present or while driving in dangerous work zones.
"This is not about making money, and there is plenty of evidence and studies that show that this is a major deterrent," Soliday said.
Under the legislation, a county, municipality or school corporation could contract with a private company to operate a speed camera enforcement program in school or work zones.
School zone cameras could only operate between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. and work zone cameras would require workers be present to be turned on, unless the local government decides the cameras should operate all times for "the safety of the traveling public."
Signs warning of speed cameras would have to be posted.
The owner of a vehicle snapped speeding by a camera would be mailed a $250 civil fine after a police officer or camera company employee reviewed the photo or video evidence of the speeding vehicle. Speed camera violations would not go on a person's driving record or be reported to insurance companies.
A second work zone speed camera ticket would come with a $300 minimum fine. That increases to a $500 minimum fine for a third work zone ticket within three years.
The measure also authorizes cameras on school bus stop arms to capture motorists illegally driving around a school bus picking up or dropping off children.
The legislation does not include a specific procedure for contesting a speed camera ticket.
The $250 speed camera fines would be used first to pay the camera company for the cost to operate the camera enforcement program.
Any remaining money would be distributed to the local government responsible for the camera, a trauma care hospital fund, police training programs and highway construction project funds.
Benjamin Davis, of Lafayette, one of two Hoosiers to testify against the program, said he can't believe Indiana is considering adopting speed cameras after 15 states already have banned their use following bad experiences.
"They don't work to increase safety, they do work to rake in the cash, to dangle the illicit dollar in front of cash-starved local governments and to increase public distrust with government," Davis said.
Soliday said his speed camera proposal draws on lessons learned in other states and he isn't interested in ever permitting red light cameras in Indiana.
The committee voted 9-3 to send the legislation to the full House.
In addition to Soliday, the only other region committee member, state Rep. Rick Niemeyer, R-Lowell, also voted yes.