Although the I-95 speeding cameras were banned, a special commission was still supposed to meet to continue discussing the issue. That has not happened–but could in the future.
The Beaufort County town of Ridgeland had traffic cameras along a stretch of I-95 until last June. Ridgeland was the first town to use the speed detecting cameras, but some lawmakers claimed it was unlawful to write a ticket based solely on photographic evidence.
Berkeley Senator Larry Grooms said the cameras were unlawful and not needed.
“The private company received half of the proceeds. So it was not about enforcing the laws, it was about making money for a town and for a private company figuring out a way how to make money,” says Grooms.
Grooms says he does not blame the company for trying to make money, but he says he doesn’t like the way they were doing it.
“That’s not legitimate law enforcement. There’s two cars going down the interstate together, one’s speeding and one’s not, the camera goes off–the guy that’s not speeding, a ticket gets mailed to whoever owns that car through his registration,” says Grooms.
And, although the cameras are off the streets in Ridgeland, this week a special commission was supposed to release a study on the issue–but that did not happen. Governor Nikki Haley told the Beaufort Gazette there was a glitch in the law that did not say who was supposed to be on the state commission reviewing the I-95 cameras.
The law also set up this special commission to continue to study the issue.
Grooms says the traffic camera system does not follow how the state regulates the law.
“You could be home watching the ball game while your son could be driving and then you get a ticket in the mail at the same time. There were lots of problems and the General Assembly finally did the right thing and ban that practice,” says Grooms.
Chairman Glenn McCall, who is also chairman of the York County Republican Party, says he is ready to move forward once the panel is finally determined. The panel was originally expected to release its report this week.
The town currently does not have the traffic camera program.