Tennessee House Representative Andy Holt announced via multiple news and social media outlets his plan to outlaw red light cameras or “speed trap cameras”.
On Dec. 30, 2014, Holt posted a multiple paragraph long rant on Facebook stating “Speed and red light cameras are nothing more than a modernized form of speed-trapping. They have very little to do with safety, and everything to do with municipal greed.”
Holt also said in published reports out of Nashville that he is concerned because businesses in his district are complaining that drivers are avoiding their stores because of traffic cameras located in the area.
The businesses that Holt spoke with claim the avoidance is hurting their bottom lines and forcing customers to shop elsewhere in communities that do not have such cameras.
A few days after those statements were made, the Knoxville Police Department released a report objecting to the statements of Holt.
According to Channel 10 News, Knoxville police took aim against Holt’s accusations, writing that accidents at intersections are the most dangerous types of collisions on their Facebook page.
According to the KPD post on Facebook, the City of Knoxville stated, “The red light camera enforcement program has been, and continues to be, the most effective habit-changing effort we have seen in traffic safety.”
A spokesman for the KPD, Darrell Debusk, made a more detailed statement.
“We have seen no evidence whatsoever that the cameras are used only to make money from fines. We are concerned that if you take this program away, you’re going to increase the number of crashes, you’re going to increase the number of significant injuries to individuals and you’re going to increase the number of fatalities we see in the city of Knoxville,” DeBusk said.
Regardless of the criticism, Holt continues his plan for the bill. The General Assembly is currently in special session to debate Governor Haslam’s Insure Tennessee, so Holt’s bill won’t be brought up for another month or so.
Once it ends, however, Holt will be able to start the legislative process of getting the Law passed. In the meantime, Holt keeps those interested in the topic informed through Facebook.