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Louisiana Senator Proposes Statewide Ban on Traffic Enforcement Cameras

Seabaugh criticizes traffic camera revenue distribution, citing concerns over citizen rights and local judicial support

NEW ORLEANS — Senator Alan Seabaugh (R-Many), representing the Shreveport area, has launched a legislative campaign aimed at banning traffic enforcement cameras statewide, citing constitutional concerns and revenue distribution issues.

The proposed legislation, Senate Bill 21, seeks to prohibit the use of automated speed enforcement devices, mobile speed cameras, and red-light cameras to enforce traffic laws. Seabaugh, expressing confidence in the bill's prospects, emphasized his disapproval of such cameras, stating, "I don’t like them. I don’t think they should have ever been here."

According to Seabaugh, revenue generated from traffic camera tickets primarily benefits private companies operating the cameras and the municipalities that hire them, diverting funds that could otherwise support local judicial services. He argued that this system infringes upon citizens' rights by depriving them of due process, stating, "From a jurisprudential standpoint, it seems like a deprivation of rights without due process."

Furthermore, Seabaugh highlighted the financial impact on local district attorneys and public defenders, who rely partly on court costs for revenue. He asserted that redirecting funds to out-of-state red-light camera operators ultimately burdens taxpayers.

However, municipalities such as New Orleans view traffic cameras as essential tools for enhancing road safety, especially amid police staffing shortages. These cameras, deployed in areas like school zones, serve as a supplement to traditional law enforcement efforts.

Matthew McLaren, a local criminal defense attorney, criticized the use of traffic cameras, arguing that they diminish police discretion and due process. He expressed concerns about the revenue distribution between municipalities and camera operators, citing a lack of transparency in the process.

Terra Mobility, the company managing New Orleans' traffic enforcement cameras, declined to comment on revenue sharing. However, city data revealed that traffic cameras generated $23.8 million in revenue in 2023, raising questions about the allocation of funds.

As the debate over the efficacy and legality of traffic enforcement cameras continues, stakeholders await further developments in the legislative process.

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