Bill Proposes Ending South Carolina’s Speeding Tickets by Camera

The South Carolina Senate passed a bill in March aimed at preventing law enforcement officers from issuing speeding tickets by camera. The bill is a response to the city of Ridgeland, which has been issuing tickets on Interstate 95 using a camera manned by a police officer. No driver is pulled over, and the citation is mailed to the accused motorist. Proponents of issuing tickets via camera point to officer safety as a main reason for mailing speeding citations, as opposed to issuing them on the highway. Critics argue that this method of ticketing is merely a way to raise revenue for the city.

The proposed bill would force law enforcement officers to hand a ticket directly to the person accused of a moving violation. Current South Carolina law does not allow unattended cameras to give speeding tickets. To avoid this law, Ridgeland has an officer watch the camera at all times. The proposed bill specifically mentions officer-attended cameras would not provide a sufficient basis for issuing a ticket.

South Carolina is one of 14 states in the country that issue speeding tickets by camera, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Most other states with similar programs also issue "red light" tickets, where cameras poised on traffic lights capture images of drivers running a red light. South Carolina currently only issues tickets via camera for speeding.

The bill is currently in the Carolina House Committee on the Judiciary. South Carolina's 2011 - 2012 Legislative Session ends in June.

South Carolina Has Point System for Ticketing

One of the criticisms for the Ridgeland camera ticketing involved the traffic point system. South Carolina uses a point system for traffic violations. Ridgeland was issuing tickets under a municipal ordinance, which does not always give drivers points for moving violations.

Under state law, if you accumulate 12 points your license will be suspended. Speeding violations can range anywhere from a two-point violation for speeding under 10 mph, to a six-point violation for driving 25 mph or more over the speed limit. Fines range from $81.75 to $445.00 for speeding violations.

If you have been accused of a traffic violation, contact an attorney. An attorney may help you to reduce fines and points, and even help to avoid losing your license.