At least 33 states and the District of Columbia have laws addressing a variety of issues related to automated enforcement, including to authorize or prohibit it. State laws generally establish guidelines for municipalities, such as limiting the use of cameras to certain cities or authorizing their use statewide.
Recent trends show fewer governments are operating red-light and speed cameras. In Missouri, the state’s Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that red-light and speed cameras were unconstitutional. Other state laws explicitly prohibit automated enforcement. Maine, Mississippi, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Texas and West Virginia prohibit both red-light cameras and speed cameras. Montana and South Dakota prohibit red-light cameras, and New Jersey and Wisconsin do not allow speed cameras.
Cameras are used in highway work zones in Illinois, Maryland, Oregon and Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania enacted legislation in 2018 (SB 172) that established a five-year pilot program for automated speed enforcement cameras in highway work zones, which began in March 2020. Drivers going 11 mph or more over the posted speed limit in work zones when highway workers are present will be given a warning after their first offense, fined $75 after their second offense and $150 after their third offense.
In 2019, at least four states—Hawaii, Maryland, New York and Texas—enacted five pieces of legislation related to automated enforcement. Hawaii (AB 663) established a red-light running committee to provide recommendations for automated enforcement programs in Honolulu, Maui, Kauai and Hawaii counties. Maryland (HB 187) increased the number of authorized speed monitoring systems for a certain road in Prince George’s County. The new law expanded on 2018 legislation (HB 175), which allowed the county to install one speed camera at a specific intersection.
In New York, two bills were approved in 2019. One law (AB 951) authorized a speed camera demonstration program in school zones in the city of Buffalo. Drivers traveling over 10 mph above the posted speed limit will be fined. The fines are capped at $50 for each violation. Additionally, the other new law (AB 6449) expanded the speed camera program in the city of New York. Specifically, the number of authorized school zones was increased from 140 to 750. The law also extended the hours in which cameras could be operated to between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. Previously, cameras could only be operated during a school’s active hours. By doing so, this expansion has made New York City’s automated enforcement program the largest in the nation, according to a New York Times article.
Texas (HB 1631) prohibited localities from using red-light cameras, an idea lawmakers have considered since 2007. In signing the new law, Governor Greg Abbott cited constitutional issues with cameras as drivers are unable to confront their accuser in court. However, communities with existing contracts are allowed to continue operating cameras for the time being.