Indiana AG Finds Red Light Cameras Illegal
Indiana's Attorney General on Friday issued an official opinion declaring red light cameras to be in conflict with state law. State Senator Earline Rogers (D-Lake County) requested the ruling after the city of Hammond in June enacted an ordinance on its own authority in the hopes of establishing a lucrative photo ticketing program. "A red light camera ordinance would be an invalid attempt to locally regulate conduct that is already regulated by a state agency," Attorney General Stephen Carter wrote. "Unless expressly granted authority by statute, a local governmental entity's passage of such an ordinance would be in contravention of the state's home rule law." Carter noted that the state legislature had in its 2005 session specifically considered and rejected Senate Bill 570, a measure which would have granted authority to cities to use automated ticketing machines. Under Indiana law, municipalities may not impose regulations that conflict with state law. "The state has preempted the field of regulating moving traffic violations, including the violation of running a red light," Carter wrote. "State traffic regulations apply throughout Indiana... The General Assembly has defined the offense of disregarding a traffic control signal and has set the penalty as a Class C infraction. Therefore, a local ordinance imposing a penalty for running a red light would result in an attempt to regulate conduct that is already regulated by a state agency in contravention of the state's home rule law." The opinion is in line with the findings of Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox who outlawed cameras last year (view opinion). Similarly, the Minnesota Supreme court also struck down a red light camera program as illegal (view ruling). On the other hand, Ohio's high court in January decided to save photo ticketing (view ruling). A copy of the Indiana Attorney General's official opinion is available in a 35k PDF file at the source link below.
Source: Official Opinion 2008-3 (Attorney General, State of Indiana, 8/8/2008)