Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

 

Committee Bill No. 706

January Session, 2011

 

LCO No. 4808

 

*04808SB00706TRA*

Referred to Committee on Transportation

 

Introduced by:

 

(TRA)

 

AN ACT CONCERNING MUNICIPAL AUTOMATED TRAFFIC CONTROL SAFETY DEVICES AT CERTAIN INTERSECTIONS.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2011) As used in this section and sections 2 to 4, inclusive, of this act:

(1) "Automated traffic enforcement safety device" means a device that (A) is capable of producing a photographically recorded still or video image, or combination thereof, of the rear of a motor vehicle or a vehicle being drawn by a motor vehicle, including an image of the vehicle's rear license plate; and (B) indicates on one or more of any such image produced, the date and time, and the location of violation and the traffic control signal;

(2) "Owner" means a person or persons in whose name a motor vehicle is registered under the law of this state, another state or another country; and

(3) "Vendor" means a person who: (A) Provides services to a municipality under this act; (B) operates, maintains, leases or licenses an automated traffic enforcement safety device; or (C) is authorized to review and or assemble the recorded images captured by the automated traffic enforcement safety device, provided none of these activities shall be construed by the state or a traffic authority as providing or participating in private investigative services.

Sec. 2. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2011) (a) A municipality with a population greater than sixty thousand, with the authorization of its chief executive officer and legislative body, may authorize the use of automated traffic enforcement safety devices to enforce the provisions of section 14-299 of the general statutes within such municipality.

(b) Before enforcing an ordinance adopted under this section, the municipality shall install advance warning signs along all approaches of the roadways preceding the intersection at which an automated traffic enforcement safety device is located. The advance warning signs must notify motorists of the existence of the automated traffic enforcement safety device.

(c) Any ordinance adopted under this section must specify the following: (1) That the owner of a motor vehicle commits a violation of the ordinance if the automated traffic enforcement safety device produces a recorded image or images of a motor vehicle proceeding or a motor vehicle being drawn by a motor vehicle proceeding through an intersection, contrary to the requirement to stop at a red signal light; (2) that the owner of a motor vehicle establishes a defense if the person: (A) Identified as having the care, custody or control of the motor vehicle, or (B) identified as the person driving the motor vehicle at the time of the violation, is not the owner; (3) that payment of a penalty and associated costs and fees imposed for a violation of an ordinance adopted under this act may be made by electronic means; and (4) that a local police officer or a designated employee of a vendor shall review and approve the recorded image or images before the notices referred to in subsection (e) of this section are mailed to the owner of the motor vehicle or the vehicle being drawn by a motor vehicle.

(d) An ordinance adopted under this section: (1) Shall impose a civil penalty equal to the greater of one hundred twenty-four dollars or the maximum penalty permitted for a violation of an ordinance adopted under this act; (2) may impose fees associated with the electronic processing of the payment of the civil penalty imposed for violation of such ordinance; and (3) shall require that the civil penalty imposed for a violation of such ordinance may be applied to defray the costs of the installation, operation and maintenance of the automated traffic enforcement safety device and program and that the remaining funds shall be distributed as follows: (A) Seventy per cent shall be deposited in the general fund of the municipality or in any special fund or account of the municipality, as determined by the chief executive officer and legislative body, (B) fifteen per cent shall be paid to the State Treasurer for deposit in the General Fund and shall be credited to the appropriation for the Department of Social Services, for Services for Persons with Disabilities, Traumatic Brain Injury, and (C) fifteen per cent shall be paid to the State Treasurer for deposit in the Special Transportation Fund.

(e) The municipality or its authorized agent shall mail the owner of a motor vehicle or a motor vehicle being drawn by a motor vehicle committing a violation of an ordinance adopted under this section, notice of the ordinance violation by first class mail postmarked not later than thirty days after obtaining the name and address of the owner of the motor vehicle and not more than sixty days after the date of the alleged violation. The notice shall include the following: (1) The name and address of the owner of the motor vehicle or the vehicle being drawn by a motor vehicle; (2) the license plate number of the motor vehicle or the vehicle being drawn by a motor vehicle; (3) the violation charged; (4) the location of the intersection and the date and time of the violation; (5) a copy of or information on how to view, through electronic means, the recorded image described in this section; (6) a statement or electronically-generated affirmation by a designated employee or local police officer who has reviewed the recorded image described in this section and determined that the motor vehicle violated the ordinance; (7) the amount of the civil penalty imposed for the violation; and (8) the date by which the civil penalty must be paid if the owner of the vehicle: (A) Does not choose to contest the violation; and (B) chooses to avoid paying court costs. The date by which the civil penalty must be paid shall not be more than thirty days after the issuance date of the violation, if a defense described in this section does not apply, or forty-five days after the issuance date of the violation if a defense described in this section requires the notice to be sent to another person.

(f) Any challenge to the implementation of an automated traffic enforcement safety device or adoption of an ordinance under this section shall be brought within thirty days of passage of the ordinance.

(g) It is a defense in a proceeding to enforce an ordinance adopted under this section if the owner provides to the municipality, or agent for the municipality, an affidavit signed under the penalties of perjury which: (1) Establishes that, at the time of the alleged violation, the owner was engaged in the business of renting or leasing motor vehicles under written agreements; (2) establishes that, at the time of the alleged violation, the motor vehicle was in the care, custody or control of a person other than the owner or an employee of the owner of the motor vehicle or the vehicle being drawn by a motor vehicle under a written agreement for the rental or lease of the motor vehicle or the vehicle being drawn, for a period of not more than sixty days; and (3) provides to the traffic authority, court or agent for the municipality the name and address of the person who was renting or leasing the motor vehicle or the vehicle being drawn by a motor vehicle at the time of the alleged violation.

(h) If the owner of a motor vehicle or a vehicle being drawn by a motor vehicle meets the requirements of subsection (g) of this section, the traffic authority, court or agent for the local municipality shall mail, or electronically transfer, a notice of the citation to the person identified as having the care, custody or control of the motor vehicle or the vehicle being drawn by a motor vehicle at the time of the violation. The proof required under said subsection (g) of this section creates a rebuttable presumption that the person having the care, custody or control of the motor vehicle or the vehicle being drawn by a motor vehicle at the time of the violation was the operator of the motor vehicle at the time of the violation. The notice required under this subsection shall contain the following: (1) The information described in subsection (e) of this section; (2) a statement that the person receiving the notice was identified by the owner of the motor vehicle or the vehicle being drawn by a motor vehicle as the person having the care, custody or control of the motor vehicle at the time of the violation; and (3) a statement that a person may offer a defense as described in this subsection, subsection (g) or (i) of this section.

(i) It is a defense to a proceeding to enforce an ordinance adopted under this section if the owner provides to the traffic authority or court an affidavit signed under penalty of perjury stating either of the following: (1) That the owner was not operating the motor vehicle or the motor vehicle drawing a vehicle at the time of the alleged violation and provides the name and address of the person operating the motor vehicle or the motor vehicle drawing a vehicle at the time of the alleged violation; or (2) that either: (A) The motor vehicle, or (B) the license plate of the motor vehicle or the vehicle being drawn by the motor vehicle, was stolen before the alleged violation occurred and was not under the control or possession of the owner at the time of the alleged violation. In addition to such affidavit, the owner shall submit proof that a police report was filed concerning the stolen motor vehicle or stolen license plate.

(j) If the owner of a motor vehicle or a vehicle being drawn by a motor vehicle submits the evidence required under subsection (i) of this section, the traffic authority, court or agent for the local municipality shall mail a notice of the citation to the person identified as the person operating the motor vehicle at the time of the violation. The proof required under subsection (i) of this section creates a rebuttable presumption that the person identified in the affidavit required under subsection (i) of this section was the operator of the motor vehicle at the time of the violation. The notice required under this subsection must contain the following: (1) The information described in subsection (e) of this section; and (2) a statement that the person receiving the notice was identified by the owner of the motor vehicle as the person operating the motor vehicle at the time of the violation.

(k) It is a defense to a proceeding to enforce an ordinance adopted under this section if any of the following apply: (1) A person operating an authorized emergency vehicle may proceed past a red traffic control signal or traffic control device after slowing down as necessary for safe operation; (2) the traffic signal lights are giving no indication and such is able to be observed on the recorded image; (3) the operator was complying with a lawful order or direction of a law enforcement officer and such is able to be observed on the recorded image; (4) the operator was yielding right-of-way to authorized emergency vehicles and such is able to be observed on the recorded image; (5) the vehicle was participating in a funeral procession and such is able to be observed on the recorded image; and (6) a traffic citation was issued to the operator of the motor vehicle for the violation by a state or local police officer.

(l) A designated employee or local police officer is not liable for any loss while acting within the scope of the employment of the designated employee or local police officer under this section or an ordinance adopted under this section.

(m) If it appears from the records of the local authority that has jurisdiction to enforce an ordinance adopted under this section that a person has failed to pay a violation before the deadlines established by this section without notification of an intent to contest the violation, the local authority shall send a notice to the person who is the registered owner of the motor vehicle or the vehicle being drawn by a motor vehicle. The notice must inform the registered owner of the following: (1) That the local authority will send a referral to the Department of Motor Vehicles if the violation is not paid within thirty days after the notice was mailed; and (2) that the referral will result in the nonrenewal of the registration of the motor vehicle or the vehicle if the violation is not paid.

(n) A local authority must send a referral to the Department of Motor Vehicles not later than thirty days after the notice referenced in this section was mailed if a violation of an ordinance adopted under this section has not been contested and has not been paid. The referral to the Department of Motor Vehicles must include the following: (1) Any information known or available to the local authority concerning the license plate number and year of registration and the name of the owner of the motor vehicle or the vehicle being drawn by a motor vehicle; (2) the date on which the violation occurred; (3) the date when the notice required under this section was mailed; and (4) the seal of the local authority.

(o) If the Department of Motor Vehicles receives a referral under this section, the department shall refuse to renew the registration of the motor vehicle or the vehicle being drawn by a motor vehicle and shall mail a notice to the person in whose name the vehicle is registered that: (1) Informs the person that the registration of the vehicle will not be renewed and that the reason for the refusal to renew was the failure to pay an ordinance violation adopted under the authority of this section; and (2) explains what the person is required to do to have the registration reinstated.

(p) The Department of Motor Vehicles shall reinstate the registration of a vehicle that is not renewed under this act if the following occur: (1) Any person presents the Department of Motor Vehicles with adequate proof that the violation notice has been paid; and (2) a reinstatement fee has been paid, if applicable.

(q) The chief executive officer shall appoint one or more traffic control signal violation hearing officers, other than police officers or persons who work in the police department, to conduct the hearings authorized by this section.

(r) Any person who requests a hearing shall be given written notice of the date, time and place for the hearing. Such hearing shall be held not less than fifteen days or more than thirty days after the date of the mailing of notice, provided the hearing officer shall grant upon good cause shown any reasonable request by any interested party for postponement or continuance. An original or certified copy of the initial notice of violation shall be filed and retained by the municipality, be deemed to be a business record within the scope of section 52-180 of the general statutes and be evidence of the facts contained therein. A person wishing to contest such person's liability shall appear at the hearing and may present evidence in such person's behalf. The presence of the police officer who authorized the issuance of the citation shall be required at the hearing if such person so requests. A designated municipal official, other than the hearing officer, may present evidence on behalf of the municipality. If such person fails to appear, the hearing officer may enter an assessment by default against such person upon a finding of proper notice and liability under the applicable ordinance or statute. The hearing officer may accept from such person copies of police reports, documents of the Department of Motor Vehicles and other official documents by mail and may determine thereby that the appearance of such person is unnecessary. The hearing officer shall conduct the hearing in the order and form and with such methods of proof as the hearing officer deems fair and appropriate. The rules regarding the admissibility of evidence shall not be strictly applied, but all testimony shall be given under oath or affirmation. The hearing officer shall announce the hearing officer's decision at the end of the hearing. If the hearing officer determines that the person is not liable, the hearing officer shall dismiss the matter and enter the hearing officer's determination in writing accordingly. If the hearing officer determines that the person is liable for the violation, the hearing officer shall forthwith enter and assess the fines, penalties, costs or fees against such person as provided by the applicable ordinances of that municipality.

Sec. 3. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2011) Notwithstanding any provision of the general statutes, a violation of section 14-299 of the general statutes detected and recorded by an automated traffic control signal enforcement device pursuant to section 2 of this act shall not: (1) Constitute an infraction or violation; (2) be processed by the Centralized Infractions Bureau; (3) be considered a moving traffic violation; (4) be reported to the Department of Motor Vehicles for inclusion on a person's driving record; or (5) cause the assessment of points against the operator's license of the person found to have violated section 14-299 of the general statutes. Provided, however, a failure by the person determined to have been the operator of the motor vehicle or the vehicle being drawn by a motor vehicle at the time of the violation to pay the civil penalty shall be reported to the Department of Motor Vehicles and such department shall refuse to renew the registration of the vehicle involved in the violation of this statute pursuant to the authority of the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Sec. 4. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2011) Not later than October 1, 2012, or twelve months following the date of implementation of an automated traffic enforcement safety device program by a municipality, each municipality that has installed an automated traffic enforcement safety device and has been operating a program shall submit a report to the committee on Legislative Program Review and Investigations. Such report shall include a comparison and analysis of: (1) The number of violations of section 14-299 of the general statutes that occurred at the intersections where such automated traffic control signal enforcement devices were used, prior to and during the use of such enforcement devices; (2) the number and type of related traffic violations and accidents that occurred at such intersections prior to and during the use of such enforcement devices; and (3) the number of violations of section 14-299 of the general statutes and related violations and accidents that occurred at intersections where such control signal enforcement devices were used and at similar intersections where such automated traffic control signal enforcement devices were not used. The report shall also describe situations in which (A) camera results could not be used or were not used; (B) the number of leased, out-of-state or other vehicles, including trucks, where enforcement efforts were unsuccessful; (C) the amount of revenue from fines retained by the municipality; (D) the cost of such program to the municipality; and (E) such other data or comparisons deemed of interest or importance by the municipality.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

October 1, 2011

New section

Sec. 2

October 1, 2011

New section

Sec. 3

October 1, 2011

New section

Sec. 4

October 1, 2011

New section

Statement of Purpose:

To authorize municipalities to use automated traffic enforcement safety devices.

[Proposed deletions are enclosed in brackets. Proposed additions are indicated by underline, except that when the entire text of a bill or resolution or a section of a bill or resolution is new, it is not underlined.]

Co-Sponsors:

SEN. FONFARA, 1st Dist.; REP. ROBLES, 6th Dist.

REP. ROLDAN, 4th Dist.

S.B. 706