On I-95 in Ridgeland, a snapshot can land a driver in court. Ridgeland Mayor Gary Hodges says use of traffic camera evidence catches thousands of traffic violations. The problem, say state senators, this type of enforcement violates rights to due process.
Senator Gerald Malloy of Darlington, an attorney, says people need to be able to set up a defense based on the time and evidence at the time of the traffic violation.
Charleston Senator Larry Grooms passed a bill through Senate subcommittee on Wednesday to make the town stop issuing tickets by camera and mail or pay a $500 fine per citation. Grooms says this is profit-driven by the traffic camera company–setting up an unlawful speed trap:
The bill that passed the panel today would fine the town of Ridgeland if they do not stop ticketing people caught on camera. Mayor Hodges says with more than 3,000 tickets issued and no traffic deaths since they began six months ago, the traffic camera program is worth it:
Lawmakers say they have gotten numerous complaints and calls from people who were mailed a citation.
The bill to stop traffic tickets by camera evidence has now gone to the full transportation committee.