NOTE:This is an ADDITIONAL REVISION to the previous draft of the Automated Enforcement Model.   This revision is placed on the web site for comments from all concerned.  Please email or write comments to: The National Committee on Unifrom Traffic Laws and Ordinances, 107 S. West Street, # 110, Alexandria, VA  22314, 800/807-5290.  Email: ncutloceo@rica.net)

Comments should be received NO LATER THAN Wednesday, December 13, 2000.  After that time the model law, along with all comments received, will be submitted to the NCUTLO Board of Directors for consideration.)   

Additions are in red; deletions are struck through.   

Automated Traffic Law Enforcement Model Law

The objective of automated traffic law enforcement is reduced traffic crashes and improved adherence to traffic laws through the use of photographic and electronic technology as a substitute for traditional traffic law enforcement. This type of enforcement should be used at high crash sites, at other high-risk locations, or in situations where traffic law enforcement personnel cannot be utilized, either due to the pressing needs of other law enforcement activities or where inherent on-site safety problems make traditional law enforcement difficult.

Automated traffic law enforcement is not intended to replace traditional law enforcement personnel nor to mitigate safety problems caused by deficient road design, construction or maintenance. Rather, it provides enforcement at times and locations when police manpower is unavailable or its use raises safety concerns.

The model law imposes only a civil fine for traffic law violation enforced via the automated traffic law enforcement system and relies on an initial presumption of guilt. This approach is not new as it is typically utilized for the enforcement of parking law violations. As with parking violations, no record of the traffic law violations resulting from automated traffic law enforcement are placed in drivers' licensing files for possible point assessment or licensing action. Indeed, any attempt to unfavorably influence guilty persons' driving privileges, through the use of this system, could raise due process of law concerns.

This model law contains provisions to insure that automated traffic law enforcement is not used as a revenue generator. Compensation paid for an automated traffic law system is to be based only on the value of the equipment or the services provided. Compensation for services or equipment is not to be based on the number of traffic citations issued or the revenue generated by the system.

To help further this goal and improve highway safety, this model law provides that revenue derived from automated traffic law enforcement may be utilized solely to fund highway safety functions.   

Automated Traffic Law Enforcement Model Law (draft 11-9-2000)

1- Legislative Purpose

This legislation authorizes automated traffic law enforcement at high crash or other high-risk locations where on-site traffic law enforcement personnel cannot be utilized, either because of insufficient manpower or inherent on-site safety difficulties with enforcement by police officers. The objective of automated traffic law enforcement is reduced traffic crashes resulting from improved adherence to traffic laws achieved by effective deterrence of potential violators which could not be achieved by traditional law enforcement methods.

Automated traffic law enforcement is not intended to replace traditional law enforcement personnel, nor is it intended to mitigate safety problems caused by deficient road design, construction or maintenance. Rather, it provides enforcement at times and locations when police manpower is unavailable, difficult to utilize safely, or needed for other priorities.

2- Applicability of law

The State, a county, or a municipality may utilize an automated traffic law enforcement system to detect traffic violations under State or local law, subject to the conditions and limitations specified in this Act.

3 Limitations on Use of Automated Enforcement

Automated traffic law enforcement systems may be utilized only at locations with high incidences of violations or with high crash rates due to violations, where it is impractical or unsafe to utilize traditional enforcement, or where traditional enforcement has failed to deter violators. In determining deployment of automated traffic law systems, the judgment of the administering agency, when using due diligence in evaluating the suitability of potential deployment sites, including consideration of site violations and crash data, shall be controlling on where and when to install automatic traffic law enforcement systems

Before issuing citations based on surveillance by an automated traffic law enforcement system, a traffic engineering analysis of the proposed site shall be conducted to verify that the location meets highway safety standards. An automated traffic law system may not be used as a means of combating deficiencies in roadway design or environment. 

4 - Citation and Warning Notice

(a) An agency shall mail to the owner pursuant to 4 a citation, which shall include:

    (1) The name and address of the registered owner of the vehicle;

    (2) The registration number of the motor vehicle involved in the violation;

    (3) The violation charged;

    (4) The location where the violation occurred;

    (5) The date and time of the violation;

    (6) A copy of the recorded images;

    (7) The amount of the civil penalty imposed and the date by which the civil     penalty should be paid;

    (8) A signed statement by a technician employed by the agency that, based on inspection of recorded images, the motor vehicle was being operated in violation of a traffic control device;

    (9) A statement that recorded images are evidence of a violation of a traffic  control device;

    (10) Information advising the person alleged to be liable under this Act:

(A) Of the manner, time, and place in which liability as alleged in the citation may be contested; and

(B) Warning that failure to pay the civil penalty or to contest liability in a timely manner is an admission of liability and may result in denial of renewal of vehicle registration.

(C) Except as provided in 6 (f) (2), a citation issued under this section shall be mailed no later than 2 weeks after the alleged violation.

(b) A person who receives a citation pursuant to the provisions of this Act may:

    (1) Pay the civil penalty;

    (2) Elect to stand trial for the alleged violation; or

    (3) Specify the person who was operating the vehicle at the time of the violation, including at a minimum the operator's name and current address.

5 - Violations

Unless the driver of the motor vehicle received a citation from a police officer at the time of the violation, the motor vehicle owner, or the driver if subsection 6 (f) is applicable, is subject to a civil penalty not exceeding ($) if the motor vehicle is recorded by an automated traffic law enforcement system. A violation for which a civil penalty is imposed under this Act is not a moving violation for the purpose of assessing points and may not be recorded on the driving record of the owner or driver of the vehicle. 

6- Failure to Pay Penalty or Contest Violation

If a person charged with a traffic violation as a result of automated traffic law enforcement does not pay or successfully contest the civil penalty resulting from that violation, the department of motor vehicles may refuse to reregister any motor vehicles owned by that person. 

7- Rules of Evidence and Defenses

a)

    (1) Based on inspection of recorded images produced by an automated traffic law enforcement system, a citation or copy thereof alleging that the violation occurred and signed by a duly authorized agent of the agency shall be evidence of the facts contained therein and shall be admissible in any proceeding alleging a violation under this section.

    (2) Adjudication of liability shall be based on a preponderance of evidence.

(b) The court may consider in defense of a violation:

    (1) That the motor vehicle or registration plates of the motor vehicle were stolen before the violation occurred and not under the control of or in the possession of the owner at the time of the violation;

    (2) Evidence that the person named in the citation was not operating the vehicle at the time of the violation;

    (3) With respect to an alleged red light violation, the driver of the vehicle passed through the intersection when the light was red:

(A) In order to yield the right-of-way to an emergency vehicle; or

(B) As part of a funeral procession; and

    (4) Any other evidence or issues that the Court deems pertinent.

(c) In order to demonstrate that the motor vehicle or the registration plates were stolen before the violation occurred and were not under the control of possession of the owner at the time of the violation, the owner must submit proof that a police report concerning the stolen motor vehicle or registration plates was filed in a timely manner.

(d) In order to demonstrate that the person named in the citation was not the violator, the person so named in the citation shall provide evidence satisfactory to the Court, specifying the person who was operating the vehicle at the time of the violation, including at a minimum the operator's name and current address.

(e) If the person named in the citation is an owner of a commercial vehicle with a registered gross weight of 10,000 pounds or more, a tractor vehicle, a trailer operated in combination with a tractor vehicle or a passenger bus, in order to demonstrate that he or she was not the violator that person shall, in a letter mailed to the Court by certified mail return receipt requested:

(A) Swear that the person named in the citation was not operating the vehicle at the time of the violation; and

(B) Provide the name, address, and driver's license identification number of the person who was operating the vehicle at the time of the violation.

(f)

    (1) If the court finds that the person named in the citation was not operating the vehicle at the time of the violation or receives evidence identifying the person who was driving the vehicle at the time of the violation, the clerk of the court shall provide to the agency issuing the citation a copy of the evidence identifying who was operating the vehicle at the time of the violation.

    (2) Upon receipt of evidence from the court that a person other than the one initially charged was operating the vehicle at the time of the violation, an agency may issue a citation to that other person so identified. A citation issued under this paragraph shall be mailed no later than 2 weeks after receipt of the evidence from the court.

8 -Public information

A public information campaign must precede the issuance of citations using an automated traffic law enforcement system. An integral part of an automated traffic law enforcement program is a community-wide information campaign to inform the driving public. This public information campaign shall continue throughout the life of automated traffic law enforcement program and may be funded from revenues derived from the program. The goal of the automated traffic law enforcement program is reduced traffic crashes achieved by deterrence of violations, not the issuance of citations or the generation of revenues.  

9- Payment for Automated Traffic Enforcement System

The compensation paid for an automated traffic law system shall be based on the value of the equipment or the services provided. It may not be on the number of traffic citations issued or the revenue generated by the system.

10 - Use of Revenues Derived from Automated Enforcement

No portion of any fine collected through the use of automated traffic law system may be utilized as general revenue of the implementing jurisdiction. Revenue derived from automated traffic law enforcement shall be utilized solely to fund highway safety functions and projects, which may include automated enforcement programs costs. Automated enforcement program costs that may be funded by revenues derived from citation fines are limited to equipment acquisition, installation and replacement, program administration, public information campaigns and education, and periodic program evaluations of compliance, public awareness and safety.

11 - Failure to Pay Penalty or Contest Violation

If a person charged with a traffic violation as a result of automated traffic law enforcement does not pay or successfully contest the civil penalty resulting from that violation, the department of motor vehicles may refuse to reregister any motor vehicles owned by that person. 

12 - Adoption of Implementing Procedures

In consultation with local governments, the chief judge of the (insert name of the appropriate state, county or municipal court) shall adopt procedures for the issuance of citations, the trial of civil violations, and the collection of civil penalties under this Act. Thresholds established for determining violations and protocols for establishing acceptable evidence of committed violations shall be established and documented by the public agency responsible for administering the automated enforcement program. This authority may not be delegated to equipment vendors, service providers or other private sector institutions or employees. 

13- Program Evaluation

Within three years of the establishment of an automated traffic law enforcement program, the implementing jurisdiction shall initiate a formal evaluation of the program to determine if driver behavior has improved. That evaluation shall be completed within (one year). If reductions in traffic violations or crashes have not occurred as a result of the implementation of the automated traffic enforcement program, the program shall be terminated.

14 - Definitions

"Agency" means any public organization of the State or a political subdivision that is authorized to issue citations for a violation of State vehicle law or of local traffic laws or regulations.

"Automated traffic law enforcement system," means a device with one or more motor vehicle sensors working in conjunction with:

    (1) A red light signal to produce recorded images of motor vehicles entering an intersection against a red signal indication; or

    (2) A speed measuring device to produce recorded images of motor vehicles traveling at a prohibited rate of speed; or

    (3) A device to produce recorded images of motor vehicles violating railroad grade crossing signals; or

    (4) Any other traffic control device designed to enhance highway safety.

"Automated traffic law enforcement program" means the utilization of one or more automated traffic law enforcement systems to issue citations for civil violations of traffic law.

The "Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices" means the national standard for all traffic control devices installed on any street, highway, or bicycle trail open to public travel in accordance with 23 U.S.C. 109(d) and 402(a).

"Owner" means the registered owner of a motor vehicle or a lessee of a motor vehicle under a lease of 6 months or more, but does not include a motor vehicle rental or leasing company.

(f)

    (1) "Recorded images" means images recorded by an automated traffic law enforcement system on:

A Two or more photographs;

B Two or more microphotographs;

C Two or more electronic images; or

D A videotape;

    (2) Showing the motor vehicle, and on at least one image or portion of tape, clearly identifying the registration plate number of the motor vehicle.

(g) A "traffic control device" means any sign, signal, marking, channelizing and other device in conformance with the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices and used to regulate, warn or guide traffic, placed on, over, or adjacent to a street, highway, roadway, pedestrian facility, or bicycle path by authority of a public body or official having jurisdiction.