2001 Regular Session
By: Senator(s) Turner
Senate Bill 2508
AN ACT TO CREATE NEW SECTION 63-3-314, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PERMIT THE CITATION FOR A CIVIL VIOLATION UPON VIDEO OR PHOTOGRAPHIC EVIDENCE OF OWNERS AND OPERATORS WHO RUN A RED LIGHT; TO ENACT CERTAIN CONDITIONS AND RESTRICTIONS; TO PROVIDE THAT THE VIOLATION IS A NONMOVING VIOLATION; TO PROVIDE THAT A CONVICTION OR PLEA OF GUILTY SHALL NOT BE ENTERED ON THE PERSON'S DRIVING RECORD; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. The following shall be codified as Section 63-3-314, Mississippi Code of 1972:
63-3-313. Traffic control signal monitoring systems.
(1) This section shall apply only to municipalities having a population of one hundred thousand (100,000) or more according to the latest decennial census.
(2) For the purposes of this section, the following words have the meanings indicated:
(a) "Agency" means:
(i) For a traffic control signal operated and maintained at an intersection under the control of the State, the law enforcement agency primarily responsible for traffic control at that intersection; or
(ii) For a traffic control signal operated and maintained at an intersection under the control of a political subdivision, a law enforcement agency of the political subdivision that is authorized to issue citations for a violation of Title 63, Chapter 3, Mississippi Code of 1972, or of local traffic laws or regulations.
(b) (i) "Owner" means the registered owner of a motor vehicle or a lessee of a motor vehicle under a lease of six (6) months or more.
(ii) "Owner" does not include a motor vehicle rental or leasing company or a holder of a motor vehicle dealer tag permit issued under Section 27-19-301.
(c) "Recorded images" means images recorded by a traffic control signal monitoring system:
(i) On two (2) or more photographs; two (2) or more microphotographs; two (2) or more electronic images; videotape; or any other medium; and
(ii) Showing the rear of a motor vehicle and, on at least one (1) image or portion of tape, clearly identifying the license tag number of the motor vehicle.
(d) "Traffic control signal monitoring system" means a device with one or more motor vehicle sensors working in conjunction with a traffic control signal to produce recorded images of motor vehicles entering an intersection against a red signal indication.
(3) This section applies to a violation of Section 63-3-313 at an intersection monitored by a traffic control signal monitoring system.
(4) (a) Unless the driver of the motor vehicle received a citation from a police officer at the time of the violation, the owner or, in accordance with subsection (7) of this section, the driver of a motor vehicle is subject to a civil penalty if the motor vehicle is recorded by a traffic control signal monitoring system while being operated in violation of Section 63-3-313.
(b) A civil penalty under this subsection may not exceed One Hundred Dollars ($100.00).
(c) For purposes of this section, the Commissioner of Public Safety shall prescribe both a uniform citation form and a civil penalty, which shall be indicated on the citation, to be paid by persons who choose to prepay the civil penalty without appearing in the court to which summoned.
(d) An agency shall mail to the owner liable under this section a citation which shall include:
(i) The name and address of the registered owner of the vehicle;
(ii) The registration number of the motor vehicle involved in the violation;
(iii) The violation charged;
(iv) The location of the intersection;
(v) The date and time of the violation;
(vi) A copy of the recorded image;
(vii) The amount of the civil penalty imposed and the date by which the civil penalty should be paid;
(viii) A signed statement by a technician employed by the agency that, based on inspection of recorded images, the motor vehicle was being operated in violation of Section 63-3-313;
(ix) A statement that recorded images are evidence of a violation of Section 63-3-313; and
(x) Information advising the person alleged to be liable under this section:
1. Of the manner and time and place in which liability as alleged in the citation may be contested in court; and
2. Warning that failure to pay the civil penalty or to contest liability in a timely manner is an admission of liability and may result in refusal or suspension of the motor vehicle registration.
(e) The agency may mail a warning notice in lieu of a citation to the owner liable under this section.
(f) Except as provided in subsection (7) of this section, a citation issued under this section shall be mailed no later than two (2) weeks after the alleged violation.
(g) An agency may not mail a citation to a person who is not an owner as defined in this section.
(h) A person who receives a citation under this section may:
(i) Pay the civil penalty, in accordance with instructions on the citation, directly to the political subdivision or to the court; or
(ii) Elect to stand trial for the alleged violation.
(5) (a) A certificate alleging that the violation of Section 63-3-313 occurred, sworn to or affirmed by a duly authorized agent of the agency, based on inspection of recorded images produced by a traffic control signal monitoring system, shall be evidence of the facts contained therein and shall be admissible in any proceeding alleging a violation under this section.
(b) Adjudication of liability shall be based on a preponderance of the evidence.
(6) (a) The court may consider in defense of a violation any one or more of the following:
(i) That the violation was committed in order to yield the right-of-way to an emergency vehicle.
(ii) That the motor vehicle or license plate of the motor vehicle were stolen before the violation occurred and were not under the control or possession of the owner at the time of the violation; the owner must submit proof that a police report about the stolen motor vehicle or license plate was filed in a timely manner.
(iii) That at the time and place of the alleged violation, the traffic control signal was not in proper position and legible enough to be seen by an ordinarily observant individual;
(iv) That the person named in the citation was not operating the vehicle at the time of the violation; the person named in the citation shall provide to the court evidence to the satisfaction of the court as to the identity of the person operating the vehicle at the time of the violation, including, at a minimum, the operator's name and current address. With regard to a citation that involves a truck with a registered gross weight of twenty-six thousand one (26,001) pounds or more, a tractor vehicle, trailer vehicle operated in combination with a tractor vehicle, or a passenger bus, the person named in a citation issued under this section may provide the court a letter, sworn to or affirmed by the person and mailed by certified mail, return receipt requested, stating that the person named in the citation was not operating the vehicle at the time of the violation and providing the name, address and driver's license identification number of the person who was operating the vehicle at the time of the violation.
(v) Any other issues and evidence that the court deems pertinent.
(7) (a) If the court finds that the person named in the citation was not operating the vehicle at the time of the violation or receives evidence identifying the person driving the vehicle at the time of the violation, the clerk of the court shall provide to the agency issuing the citation a copy of any evidence as to the identity of the person operating the vehicle at the time of the violation.
(b) Upon the receipt of substantiating evidence from the court under paragraph (a) of this subsection (7), an agency
may issue a citation to the person that the evidence indicates was operating the vehicle at the time of the violation.
(c) A citation issued under this subsection (7) shall be mailed no later than two (2) weeks after receipt of the
evidence from the court.
(8) If the civil penalty is not paid and the violation is not contested, the court may inform the State Tax Commission, and the State Tax Commission may refuse to register or reregister or may suspend the registration of the motor vehicle involved in the violation.
(9) A violation for which a civil penalty is imposed under this section:
(a) Is not a moving violation and may not be recorded by the Department of Public Safety on the driving record of the owner or driver of the vehicle; and
(b) May not be considered by an insurer in the provision of motor vehicle insurance coverage.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after January 2, 2002.