Legislator "celebrates" end of "frivolous" speed cameras

Becky Campbell • Updated Jan 8, 2020 at 6:52 PM

Calling speeding tickets initiated by unmanned speed cameras “frivolous” state Rep. Timothy Hill celebrated the demise of the devices, according to a press release from his office this week.

“This fulfills a promise that I made to our citizens when I first ran to serve the Third House District,” Hill said. “I am pleased these cameras are finally coming down so our citizens are no longer subject to harassment, government overreach, and unenforceable penalties from an unconstitutional and obsolete system. I remain committed to keeping the promises made to the citizens of our community, and I will continue supporting small government and conservative solutions that will better address our evolving needs.”

The “small government” affected by the move locally is Bluff City, which had the only speed cameras still existing until the town’s contract expired Wednesday. Redflex has 45 days to remove the cameras.

Bluff City Mayor Irene Wells has maintained the cameras were not designed for a revenue stream — although tickets from the cameras buffered the town’s budget — but they were implemented to reduce crashes along U.S. Highway 11E, a 45 mph straight stretch of road conducive to speeding.

Now, officers will have to turn more of their attention to the area which is a main road between Johnson City and Bristol.

In 2015, Hill cosponsored legislation outlawing the cameras — except in school zones.

“This unnecessary and burdensome technology has resulted in frivolous penalties for motorists on portions of U.S. 11E. Additionally, safety studies have suggested there was no benefit from the use of these cameras as a method of improving overall safety,” the Blountville Republican said.

Contracts that were already in place when the law passed were allowed to run their course, but under the legislation cannot be renewed. Hill said the move was “long overdue.” The law, when passed in 2015, also immediately dropped the ticket price from $90 to $50, which significantly cut how much the town had to split with the camera company. 

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