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Louisiana Advances Bill Requiring Traffic Cameras to Capture Driver Images

BATON ROUGE, La. - Louisiana lawmakers are pushing forward a bill that could overhaul the state's traffic camera systems, requiring them to capture images of drivers, not just vehicles, in a bid to enhance accountability for speeding violations.

Sponsored by Rep. Daryl Deshotel (R-Marksville), HB 652 gained traction as it advanced out of the House of Representatives’ Transportation, Highways, and Public Works Committee with a 10-2 vote.

The legislation aims to address concerns about holding individual speeding drivers accountable, particularly in cases where multiple individuals may share or borrow vehicles.

"The primary focus of the bill is to ensure that the individual responsible for the violation is held accountable," Deshotel emphasized.

If passed, traffic camera systems across Louisiana would be mandated to snap a picture of the offending driver alongside the speeding vehicle. Failure to comply could result in parishes or municipalities using such systems being prohibited from issuing or collecting traffic fines, slated to take effect in 2025.

However, challenges to the bill's efficacy have been raised, notably regarding the reliability of capturing driver images. Mike Knaps, a representative of the Louisiana Association of Chiefs of Police, pointed out potential obstacles such as drivers obstructing their faces with visors or masks.

"A driver decides that they’re going to put their visor down, you’re not going to get their picture," Knaps noted. "For us to say you can identify someone from a photo is a very difficult thing to do."

Concerns about privacy invasion have also been voiced by New Orleans drivers, highlighting the broader societal implications of increased surveillance.

As the bill progresses through the legislative process, its fate ultimately rests on further approval from the full House of Representatives and the Senate before reaching Governor Jeff Landry's desk for final consideration.

The proposed measure signifies a potential shift in Louisiana's traffic enforcement landscape, signaling lawmakers' efforts to adapt to evolving technological and societal norms while balancing concerns over accountability and privacy.

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