Senior Deputy Minority Leader Anthony Giarrusso (R-District 30 East Greenwich, West Greenwich) has introduced legislation to end the use of traffic cameras in Rhode Island.
House bill 7760 would repeal the Automated Traffic Violation Monitoring Act of 2005 in its entirety, eliminating all traffic camera systems including red light and speed cameras. If passed, Rhode Island would join ten other states prohibiting communities from using red light or speed cameras.
“These camera systems are nothing more than a government cash grab. They penalize the registered owner of a vehicle rather than the person actually driving which is unfair,” stated Rep. Giarrusso.
Traffic cameras have been at the center of controversy after Providence authorities placed five new speed cameras in school zones across the city with plans to add six more in the coming months. The system was authorized under the Automated School Zone Enforcement System Act of 2016, which allows speed cameras to operate within a quarter mile of any school. The system is active between 6am and 8pm every Monday through Saturday and has resulted in over 12,000 tickets so far, which could bring in up to $1.2 million for the city.
Supporters argue that these speed cameras are limited to only school zones but Rep. Giarrusso worries that this is the first step toward expanding traffic camera usage. Concerns have also been raised that the new cameras are simply a new revenue source rather than a deterrent against speeding because of the unreasonable hours and high fines.
“The act authorizing the new speed cameras was passed on the last night of the legislative session when no one was looking in an attempt to keep the public in the dark. If legislators plan to continue this trend and only see traffic cameras as a new source of funding then we will simply remove the temptation by eliminating the systems all together,” said Rep. Giarrusso.