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South Carolina Speed Cams Suffer Setback

Slowing tourist traffic on I-95 during the summer isn't so popular with the South Carolina legislature, it turns out.

Slowing tourist traffic on I-95 during the summer isn’t so popular with the South Carolina legislature, it turns out.

Last week, a lawmaker added a provision to a bill that would put limits on speed and other traffic-enforcement cameras. If the bill remains in its form in the South Carolina Senate and is blessed by the signature of Gov. Mark Sanford, the enforcement cameras would be allowed only during certain emergency circumstances.

But maybe more importantly, the bill if passed would require recipients of the tickets to be served in person. That’s a huge hindrance to the mass ticketing efforts around the country, which allow the tickets to mailed.

Potentially bigger still: Revenue collected from the tickets would be deposited in the state’s general fund. That means local jurisdictions would be unable to raise local revenues from local enforcement cameras. It’s unclear if the language of the bill also prohibits private contractors from receiving revenue; if so, that would kill almost any camera-based enforcement program.

The Island Packet, a newspaper reporting from the Hilton Head area, said the legislation came in reaction to a move by the town of Ridgeland to out speed cameras on I-95 where it passes through the town.

“If we’re going to do this, they need to be studied a lot more on the state level,” the paper quoted state Rep. Todd Rutherford, D-Columbia, as saying.”The transportation committee hasn’t had a chance to study these at all.”

The Island Packet has more here.

Ridgeland Town Administrator Jason Taylor told the paper that the fines would only kick in on vehicles traveling 85 mph–15 mph above the speed limit–and that human-based enforcement on I-95 was becoming increasingly difficult because of the weak economy.

Lead-foots weren’t the only victors in the legislation. Drivers of golf carts will be allowed to travel two miles from a housing development’s gates, instead of just two miles from their residences, the paper reported.

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