Traffic light signal photo-monitoring; system for traffic light enforcement. (HB973)

Introduced By

Del. Ben Cline (R-Amherst) with support from co-patrons Del. Dave LaRock (R-Loudoun), and Sen. Joe Morrissey (D-Richmond)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Use of photo-monitoring systems for traffic lights; repeal. Repeals the authority for localities to operate a photo-monitoring system for traffic light enforcement, colloquially known as a "photo red" program. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Failed


01/08/2014Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/08/14 14101944D
01/08/2014Referred to Committee on Transportation
01/16/2014Impact statement from DHCD (HB0973)
01/17/2014Assigned Transportation sub: Subcommittee #1
01/29/2014Subcommittee recommends reporting (7-Y 0-N)
02/04/2014Failed to report (defeated) in Transportation (8-Y 13-N) (see vote tally)


ACLU-VA Privacy Rights, tracking this bill in Photosynthesis, notes:

The ACLU of Virginia supports repeal of the state statute authorizing the use of photo-monitoring systems for traffic enforcement. Data available now shows that these programs, compared to extended yellow lights, do not actually make us safer. A Federal Highway Administration study showed that, although red-light cameras decrease side-impact collisions by 25 percent, they cause a 15 percent increase in the number of rear-impact crashes. There are also constitutional due process concerns about the use of this technology. Use of the cameras to record traffic infractions require you to prove that you are innocent. That is not the usual constitutional requirement. Moreover, the systems in place make it difficult for most drivers to effectively challenge the tickets in court. Sometimes these systems don’t send out tickets for weeks. The driver may not be able to remember, much less prove, where he/she was four weeks ago. There are also privacy concerns regarding the collection and use of information from these cameras for dragnet surveillance. As is the case will all of the new technologies, whether red-light cameras, drones or license plate readers, the greatest concern is not knowing how the pictures and data collected will be used beyond the initial reason given. In this case, the greatest rationale for continuing to use these cameras is the revenue streams that they are producing for localities and the possible use of the data for purposes other than traffic enforcement and safety.