FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Lawmakers must rewrite Indiana law before cities can place red-light cameras on state or federal highways, Attorney General Steve Carter says.
Carter has issued a legal opinion saying Indiana law only allows red-light enforcement by an officer "wearing a distinctive uniform and a badge of authority" or driving a marked police vehicle.
"Unless specifically authorized to do so by state statute, a unit of local government may not erect red light cameras on state or federal highways within the local jurisdiction or enforce penalties by local ordinance," Carter said.
In Fort Wayne, City Council members had hoped to erect a system of cameras to catch red-light runners on major roads such as Coliseum Boulevard, which also is part of U.S. 30.
Carter's opinion was released Monday night by Sen. Kent Adams, who filed legislation earlier this year that would allow cities, towns and counties to adopt ordinances for placing special sensory cameras at dangerous intersections.
When a driver violated a red light, a camera would produce a recorded image of the vehicle proceeding through the intersection. Citations then would then be mailed to owners of the vehicles, complete with photographs.
The offense would be treated as a nonmoving violation that would not affect drivers license points or insurance, providing there were no aggravating circumstances such as causing an accident.
The bill passed the Senate but was refused a hearing in the House by Rep. Gary Cook, D-Plymouth, chairman of the House Roads and Transportation Committee. He said he did not believe communities needed a state law to install red-light cameras.
Adams, R-Bremen, plans to reintroduce his bill, most likely when the General Assembly meets for its short 2002 session.