Props to S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley for signing legislation that bans municipalities in the Palmetto state from using traffic cameras to send tickets to motorists. And more importantly, props to S.C. Sen. Larry Grooms (R-Berkeley) for pushing this legislation through the S.C. General Assembly.
Under the provisions of Grooms’ new law, traffic tickets “must be given directly to the offender by the law enforcement officer issuing the citation at the time of the traffic stop for the offense.” Grooms’ legislation also forbids tickets from being sent via “the United States mail, a parcel delivery service” or by “electronic means,” and further stipulates that traffic tickets “may not be issued based in whole or in part upon photographic evidence.”
Why was this law necessary?
Well, as we brought to your attention over a year ago, the town of Ridgeland S.C. decided to boost its budget by ripping off motorists on Interstate 95 – issuing thousands of speeding tickets using these automated “traffic scameras.”
As we’ve said repeatedly, these automated tickets are an infringement on civil liberty and an invasion of privacy. And yet despite Ridgeland being in possession of not one, but two S.C. Attorney General opinions clearly stating that any citations they issued would be invalid, its leaders decided to move forward with this blatant money grab anyway.
The town – which is now facing a class action lawsuit as a result of the policy – says it has issued more than 10,000 of these tickets over the last nine months. That sounds like a lot of plaintiffs to us …
In other good news on the traffic ticket front, state lawmakers never got around to passing the “S.C. Speeding Tax” during this year’s legislative session. That bill would have dramatically raised fines for minor speeding tickets under the guise of providing an “alternate penalty” to a points violation. Our law enforcement sources say this bill was nothing but an attempt to force local law enforcement into writing thousands of additional tickets each year.
Anyway, these are obviously small taxpayer victories – but victories nonetheless.