Indiana committee considers automated traffic enforcement

INDIANAPOLIS (WNDU) - Five states have now passed laws allowing automated traffic enforcement, and Wednesday brought a call for Indiana to become the sixth.

“If it would have been there 10 years ago, it might have saved my son,” Dennis DeMoss of Reith Riley Construction told members of the Indiana Legislature’s Roads and Transportation Study Committee in Indianapolis.

The committee is looking into automated traffic enforcement within the confines of highway construction work zones.

Automated traffic enforcement would allow someone to be caught speeding by a camera that takes a picture and sends a ticket through the mail.

“Motorists and workers have a right to be safe while driving and working in a construction zone,” testified Richard Hedgecock with Indiana Constructors Inc. “The right to safety is more important than the right to not be photographed while breaking the law.”

Hedgecock did point out that Pennsylvania’s law contains several privacy-related concessions. Only the back of a vehicle is photographed — not the driver — and only when a vehicle’s speed exceeds 11 mph faster than the posted limit.

Furthermore, in Pennsylvania, the ticket is sent to the vehicle owner, who can appeal if they weren’t at the wheel at the time. A ticket in Pennsylvania carries a fine but no license points.

“It’s not possible for the law officers to enforce speeding in our work zones. They cannot pull anyone over in a work zone without creating a safety issue, not only for them, the motoring public, but again, to our workers,” David Heyde of E&B Paving told the committee.

Testimony indicates Maryland’s program began in 2010 with 7% of motorists passing through work zones at 12 mph or more over the speed limit. Today, that figure is 1%.

“We don’t care how the money is collected, we don’t care what happens to the money after it's collected,” Hedgecock said. “We just want people to slow down, and if we've got a way to bring a hammer to that process, which is the only way frankly you're going to change behavior, that’s what we're talking about.”

The Indiana legislative Committee on Roads and Transportation is scheduled to issue its final report on the matter in two weeks.

One committee member said he felt 2020 would be "the year" the legislature embraced the concept.