A state senator from suburban New Orleans on Thursday agreed to pull a package of bills designed to rein in the use of electronic enforcement of traffic laws by Louisiana cities, according to The Times-Picayune. Citing a compromise reached with the cities — Baton Rouge, Lafayette and New Orleans — Sen. Danny Martiny, R-Kenner, withdrew three bills and says he will hold a news conference next week to outline terms of the agreement.
Tony Tramel, LCG’s director of traffic and transportation, says the agreement will essentially get Baton Rouge and New Orleans in line with guidelines adopted by Lafayette for its SafeLight/SafeSpeed program. According to the account in The Times-Pic, Martiny’s bills would have barred cities from issuing tickets unless a motorist exceeded the posted speed limit by 10 miles per hour; required cities to revamp their adjudication procedures for contesting tickets; and required voter approval of traffic cameras.
Under the terms of the agreement, cities will adopt speed thresholds so that motorists are given a buffer commensurate with how high the posted speed limit is — New Orleans currently tickets motorists who exceed the speed limit by 3 miles per hour regardless of the posted limit — as well as posting additional signs warning motorists that they’re approaching a camera-equipped intersection.
According to Tramel, Lafayette and vendor Redflex adopted these policies at the program’s inception. “It’s my understanding that the senator has basically agreed to the guidelines adopted by the Louisiana Department of Public Safety,” Tramel says. “Those guidelines are our guidelines.”
The fate of Lafayette’s electronic traffic enforcement could be decided on May 15 when the City-Parish Council votes on an ordinance for final adoption that would force LCG’s contract with Redflex to expire in June. The ordinance passed 5-4 last week in introduction, although that margin may not stand come next week, and regardless, City-Parish President Joey Durel, a camera supporter, would almost certainly veto the ordinance if it passes. That would set up a veto override vote requiring six votes in favor to trump Durel’s veto.
Read more on the Martiny compromise here.