State Traffic Camera Restrictions
Most states use cameras to some extent for enforcing traffic signals and speed limits, but the practice remains highly controversial. Different states have different ways of implementing the use of enforcement cameras: banning their use entirely or setting limits, using them to enforce speed limits or to enforce traffic signals (or both). Some states do not address the use of speeding and red light cameras at all.
For more general information about red light cameras, how they work and how federal law regulates their use, see "Speeding & Red Light Cameras: Overview."
The following states prohibit or severely limit the use of traffic enforcement cameras (this is not a complete list of states that regulate enforcement cameras):
- Arkansas - May be used only at railroad crossings or in school zones; an officer must be present and the citation must be given at the time of the offense.
- Maine - All municipalities prohibited from using enforcement cameras.
- Montana - Use of red light cameras prohibited, except for railroad crossings.
- Mississippi - All municipalities prohibited from using enforcement cameras.
- Nevada - Use of enforcement cameras prohibited unless they are hand held by officer or installed by a police vehicle or facility.
- New Hampshire - Use of enforcement cameras prohibited except for where this is specific statutory exception.
- New Jersey - Use of speed cameras prohibited; local jurisdictions may use red light cameras if they pass an ordinance and participate in a pilot program.
- New Mexico - Red light cameras prohibited on state and federal road; local municipalities using camera enforcement must post a warning sign and beacon.
- South Carolina - Photo enforcement prohibited except where the state declares an emergency (in such case the citation must be served in person and within one hour of the offense).
- Texas - Cameras may not be used to enforce speed limits.
- Utah - May be used only in school zones or where speed limit is 30 mph or less; officer must be present; local ordinance required.
- West Virginia - All municipalities prohibited from using enforcement cameras.
- Wisconsin - Use of speed cameras is prohibited (state law does not address red light cameras).
Many states that do allow the broad use of speeding and red light cameras have enacted regulations for each specific use. For example, Washington limits red light cameras to intersections of arterial roads; allows speed cameras only in school zones; and has no limits on the use of enforcement cameras at railroad crossings.