Lawmaker wants Louisiana voters to decide if speed traffic cameras stay or go

One lawmaker wants Louisiana voters decide to keep or get rid of speed traffic cameras
Published: Mar. 22, 2022 at 6:33 PM CDT

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - One Louisiana lawmaker is looking to debate speed traffic cameras in this legislative session.

His proposed bill will ask whether traffic cameras make people drive slower, or if it’s about municipalities collecting money.

In the town of Livonia, La., an intersection on US 190 often sees the angry driver trifecta.

It’s known for its traffic, speeding drivers, and crashes.

“Well, they just fighting. They [are] stopping for here and they get mad. They going around other people, goodto get hit head-on right here,” Terri LaBeau explains.

LaBeau has worked at LA Express near the intersection for 10 years. After watching wreck after wreck she thinks drivers need to slow down and pay attention.

“You will sit here at any given time of the day and watch vehicle after vehicle after vehicle run through these red lights. 18 wheelers all the way down to small vehicles,” Livonia Police Chief Landon Landry tells WAFB.

The police chief says they could assign a police officer because traffic is so busy, but they don’t have the manpower to do so. He says they give out almost 500 traffic tickets a month, and 85% of those citations are people driving 25 miles per hour over the speed limit.

“This issue is a problem, we need to be able to find an alternative to just having an officer sitting here every day, 24 hours a day. It’s not feasible,” Landry says.

It’s why members of the Livonia city council agreed to put up two traffic cameras on US 190 to catch speeders and send them a ticket in the mail.

However, one lawmaker wants to let Louisiana voters decide whether we should allow the cameras or not.

“Right now, we are seeing gas is going to be soon $5 a gallon, insurance rates are going up, people need a break,” State Rep. Paul Hollis (R - Covington) says.

Hollis says he believes speeding cameras are less about safety and more about money.

“Unlike most fines that folks in our state that have to pay back into the government bank accounts, these a lot of funds go into the private companies’ hands,” Hollis explains.

Once the cameras go up, Chief Landry says the money they get from the citations does go to the police department and to the companies that make the camera, but Landry says it’s a lot less expensive.

“The dramatic decrease between the prices of whether an officer pulls you over versus when the camera gives you a citation,” Chief Landry explains.

He says if a driver gets a citation from a speeding camera is the minimum is $60, if an officer pulls a driver over the minimum is $160. The police department and the city of Livonia are waiting to see what happens in the legislative session. For now, Cheif Landry says officers will continue to watch the intersection hoping drivers will slow down.

WAFB did contact the city of Baker, who tells us their speed cameras bring in at least $150,000 or more in revenue per year.

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