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Status Report, Vol. 44, No. 1 | February 14, 2009 Subscribe

Cameras and other state law actions

The 2009 legislative session is underway, and at least 21 states are attempting to regulate the use of cameras to detect red light violators and speeders. Last year 7 states enacted laws related to automated enforcement: Arizona, Colorado, Louisiana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Rhode Island and Tennessee.

In 2008 New Jersey established a 5-year pilot under which localities request state approval before beginning red light camera enforcement. So far cameras have been approved in 6 communities. Colorado authorized speed cameras in construction zones and increased fines for automated enforcement violations. Red light camera violation fines are $75, and speed camera fines are $40 ($80 in school zones).

New Mexico capped fines at $75, while Arizona reduced fines and eliminated points. Louisiana barred tickets from being reported on driving records. Rhode Island authorized cameras to spot moving violations around school buses. Tennessee required citations to be sent to registered vehicle owners, who are liable.

Other 2008 legislation focused on young driver licensing. Among the highlights is Minnesota's adoption of nighttime driving and passenger restrictions. Connecticut already had these provisions but strengthened them. Virginia and Connecticut increased the amount of time beginners must be supervised behind the wheel, while Louisiana initiated a supervised driving requirement (35 hours). Virginia now requires 45 hours and Connecticut 40.

Booster seat laws also drew statehouse attention in 2008. Massachusetts, Michigan and Utah now require boosters for kids 7 and younger and shorter than 57 inches. Maryland extended its law to cover children 7 and younger and shorter than 57 inches or weighing 65 pounds or less. Mississippi's new booster seat law covers children 4-6 years old and either 57 inches or shorter or less than 65 pounds, while a new law in Kentucky covers children 6 and younger who are 40-50 inches tall. So far in 2009, Ohio has enacted a law requiring boosters for children 4-7 who weigh 40 pounds or more and are shorter than 57 inches.

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