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SENATE DOCKET, NO. 1515         FILED ON: 1/18/2013

SENATE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 1724

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

_________________

PRESENTED BY:

James T. Welch

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To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General
              Court assembled:

              The undersigned legislators and/or citizens respectfully petition for the adoption of the accompanying bill:

An Act establishing a pilot program for traffic violation monitoring system.

_______________

PETITION OF:

 

Name:

District/Address:

James T. Welch

Hampden


SENATE DOCKET, NO. 1515        FILED ON: 1/18/2013

SENATE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 1724

By Mr. Welch, a petition (accompanied by bill, Senate, No. 1724) of James T. Welch for legislation to establish a pilot program for traffic violation monitoring system.  Transportation. 


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
 

_______________

In the Year Two Thousand Thirteen

_______________

 

An Act establishing a pilot program for traffic violation monitoring system.
 

              Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
 

              SECTION 1. Notwithstanding any general or special law or rule or regulation to the contrary, the secretary of Massachusetts department of transportation, in consultation with the secretary of the executive office of public safety, shall promulgate regulations and recommend guidelines for a pilot program of five municipalities to employ a traffic violation monitoring system, either mobile or fixed along any portion of any ways within its control, whereupon such municipalities may promulgate local measures imposing a penalty on the owner of a motor vehicle for failure by the operator thereof to comply with the laws, codes, regulations, ordinances, rules and/or other forms of legislation governing the traffic control signals in said municipality at which a traffic violation monitoring system is located.

              The regulations and guidelines shall, at a minimum, adhere to the following:-

              (a) No traffic control signal violation monitoring system shall be utilized in such a manner as to take a frontal view photograph of the motor vehicle that is in violation of the traffic control signal. 

              (b) A certificate, electronic certificate or a facsimile thereof, based upon inspection of photographs produced by a traffic violation monitoring system, and sworn to or electronically affirmed to by a police officer authorized to issue citations for violations of traffic signals at the subject intersection or other enforcement zone, shall be prima facie evidence of the facts contained therein; provided no citation shall issue if any part of a vehicle is within the intersection during a yellow light.

              (c) No photographs taken in conformance with this act shall be discoverable in any judicial or administrative proceeding other than a proceeding held pursuant to this act without a court order; and no photograph taken in conformance with this act shall be admissible in any judicial or administrative proceeding other than in a proceeding to adjudicate liability for such violation of this act without a court order.

              (d) For each violation pursuant to this act, the owner or owners of a vehicle shall be liable for the penalty imposed by a local measure; provided, however, that no owner of a vehicle shall be liable for a penalty imposed pursuant to this act where the operator of such vehicle has been convicted of the underlying violation pursuant to a citation issued in accordance with section 2 of chapter 90C of the General Laws, and provided, further, that the maximum penalty that may be imposed pursuant this act shall be One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) for each violation, excluding delinquent collection fees. A penalty of up to 33 1/3%, shall be assessed if said fine remains unpaid in excess of 30 days after a notice of violation has been issued consistent with the procedures established in section 20A 1/2 of chapter 90 of the General Laws.

              (e) A penalty imposed by a local measure for a violation pursuant to this act shall not be deemed a criminal conviction and shall not be made part of the operating record of the person upon whom such liability is imposed, nor shall such imposition of a penalty be subject to merit rating for insurance purposes, no points shall be assessed against the driver’s license of the owner or driver of the vehicle, and no surcharge points shall be imposed in the provision of motor vehicle insurance coverage.

              (f) Any motor vehicle owner to whom notice of violation has been issued pursuant to this act may admit responsibility for such violation and pay the fine provided therein. Payment shall be made either via the internet, or personally or through a duly authorized agent, or by appearing before the parking clerk during normal office hours, or by mailing both payment and notice of the violation to the address designated on the violation notice. Payment by mail shall be made only by money order, credit card or check made out to the parking clerk. Payment of the established fine and any applicable penalties shall operate as a final disposition of the case. Payment of the fine by one motor vehicle owner shall be satisfaction of the fine as to all other motor vehicle owners of the same motor vehicle for the same violation.

              (g) Any owner to whom a notice of violation has been issued may, within 15 days of the mailing of said notice by the parking clerk, request a hearing to contest the liability alleged in said notice. Said hearing shall be informal, the rules of evidence shall not apply, and the decision of the hearing officer shall be final subject to judicial review as outlined by section 14 of Chapter 30A of the General Laws.

              (h) The compensation paid to the manufacturer or vendor of the traffic monitoring system shall not be based upon the number of traffic citations issued or a percentage of the fine generated by such citations. The compensation paid to such manufacturer or vendor of the equipment may be based upon the value of such equipment (including its maintenance and installation), fees and overhead costs incurred in delivering the program, and the services provided or rendered in support of the traffic violation monitoring system.

              (i) The administrator of the traffic control signal monitoring system within the municipality shall submit an annual report regarding the use and operation of the traffic violation monitoring system to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. 

              (j) To be eligible for this pilot program, a municipality must have local approval from its applicable municipality council or board of selectmen unless otherwise already authorized to pursue the same through legislation filed in accordance with section 8A of chapter 3.  No municipality with a population of less than 25,000 shall be eligible for this pilot program.  No more than five municipalities will be selected for this pilot program.  Eligible municipalities must conduct procurement under chapter 30B to provide for a vendor of the traffic monitoring system.

              These regulations shall be promulgated and forwarded to the chairs of the senate and house committees on ways and means and the senate and house chairs of the joint committee on transportation within 90 days after the effective date of this act.

              For purposes of this and the following section, "traffic violation monitoring system" shall mean an automated motor vehicle sensor and camera device which produces two or more digital photographs and/or videos of each motor vehicle at the time it is used or operated in a manner that is in violation of the traffic control signal at which the automated monitoring system is located.  The photographs, must, at a minimum, record the rear of the motor vehicle, with at least one of the images clearly recording the motor vehicle behind the stop bar immediately prior to the violation of the traffic control signal, and at least one image recording the motor vehicle passing through the intersection in violation of the traffic control signal. Additionally, at least one of the images must clearly identify the license/registration plate of the motor vehicle,

              SECTION 2. Notwithstanding any general or special law or rule or regulation to the contrary, the secretary of the Massachusetts department of transportation shall submit to the clerks of the senate and house of representatives, the chairs of the senate and house committees on ways and means and the senate and house chairs of the joint committee on transportation an annual report detailing the results of this pilot program.  Said report shall include, but not be limited to, the cost to each municipality for implementing said traffic monitoring system, the number of infractions issued, the impact of applicable traffic monitoring violation systems on reducing accidents, the amount of fines issued and savings realized from any reduction in accidents at intersections where traffic violation monitoring systems are located.  The report shall be submitted not later than December 31st of each year.

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