Indiana HB 1340 – Motor Vehicle Safety
Motor Vehicle SafetyFull Bill Text
HB 1340 was introduced on January 14, 2019 and referred to the House Roads and Transportation Committee. The legislation has not yet been scheduled for a hearing or committee vote.
There is a lot to unpack with this bill. It’s as if the sponsors — Reps Jim Pressel, Edmond Soliday, and Donna Schaibley — threw in everything but the kitchen sink. Some of the provisions of HB 1340:
- Authorizes the use of an automated traffic enforcement safety device (aka ticket camera) to record alleged violations of a) reduced speed limits in highway work zones; b) failure to pay a toll; c) school bus stop arm regulations.
- Allows the use of reduced speed limit postings in work zones without first conducting an engineering study to justify the lower limit.
- Amends cell phone use regulations by a) expanding the list of devices that fall under the regulations; b) prohibits holding/handling an electronic communications device or viewing, recording, or broadcasting images or video while operating a motor vehicle; c) adds types and uses of devices excepted from the regulations; d) expands violations to the offenses for which a driver may be a repeat violator.
- Allows certain governmental agencies to enter into agreements with third parties (aka private, for-profit contractors) to administer ticket camera enforcement for the activities noted in the first bullet item above.
- Provides a rebuttable presumption that the the vehicle owner was the person driving the vehicle at the time of the alleged violation registered by camera enforcement.
- Provides that civil penalties but not driver’s license point assessments can be assessed for violations detected by camera enforcement.
- Penalizes a school bus driver who drops off students that a) must cross a state highway, county arterial highway, or municipal arterial street, or b) doesn’t pick up/drop off students as close as is practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of any other type of roadway.
The NMA opposes this bill for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that each separate provision should be debated fully on its own rather than be buried amidst a slew of others.
Information on why the NMA is against speed cameras, not the least of which is the revenue incentive for maximizing the number of violations. Note too that HB 1340 would make a camera enforcement violation a civil offense with no points against the driver’s license. That is a common ploy to disincentivize people from fighting the charges: keeping the penalty monetary at an “acceptable” level with no lasting consequence.
The NMA supports the distracted driving laws that all states have in their statutes but opposes new laws that single out specific behaviors that may or may not cause distractions for certain individuals.