Senate Bill No. 606
(By Senators Love, White and Hunter)
[Introduced February 23, 2004; referred to the Committee on the
A BILL to amend the code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by
adding thereto a new article, designated §17C-13A-1,
§17C-13A-2, §17C-13A-3, §17C-13A-4, §17C-13A-5, §17C-13A-6
and §17C-13A-7, all relating to establishing a traffic
control signal monitoring system to monitor violations of
stoplight laws involving running red lights; providing for
the issuance of a citation for violations; providing a civil
penalty of not more than one hundred dollars for violations;
providing for enforcement; and requiring adoption of
ordinances by county commissions and municipalities.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended
by adding thereto a new article, designated §17C-13A-1,
§17C-13A-2, §17C-13A-3, §17C-13A-4, §17C-13A-5, §17C-13A-6 and
§17C-13A-7, all to read as follows:
ARTICLE 13A. RED LIGHT RUNNING ACT OF 2004.
§17C-13A-1. Red light running act.
This article shall be known and may be cited as the "West
Virginia Red Light Running Act of 2004."
§17C-13A-2. Legislative findings.
The Legislature hereby finds and declares that:
(1) The frequency of red light running within the state
continues to increase as the number of vehicles increases;
(2) An automated red light camera program will assist state
and local governments by reducing the necessity for conducting
extensive conventional traffic enforcement at heavily traveled
high-risk intersections; and
(3) Based on results of similar programs, the adoption of an
automated red light camera program will result in a significant
reduction in the number of red light violations and accidents.
§17C-13A-3. Terms defined.
For purposes of this article, the following definitions
(1) "Agency" means the law-enforcement agency of the state,
county or municipal government, primarily responsible for
enforcing traffic laws and ordinances involving the control of
traffic by use of signals operated and maintained at an
intersection of a road or highway.
(2) "Court" means a municipal court or magistrate court.
(3) "Owner" means the registered owner of a motor vehicle or
a lessee of a motor vehicle under a lease of six months or more.
(4) "Recorded images" mean images recorded by a traffic
control signal monitoring system shown on one or more of the
(A) Two or more photographs;
(B) Two or more microphotographs;
(C) Two or more electronic images;
(D) Digital video; or
(E) Any other photographic, electronic or video medium and
which show the front and rear of a motor vehicle and, on at least
one image clearly identify the registration plate number of the
motor vehicle and provide full evidentiary documentation,
including a sequence of the front of the offending vehicle
approaching the intersection.
(5) "Traffic control signal monitoring system" means a
device with one or more aboveground motor vehicle sensors working
in conjunction with a traffic signal to produce recorded images
of motor vehicles entering the intersection against a red signal
indication. The traffic control signal monitoring system must
incorporate both a method of predicting motor vehicles entering
an intersection against a red signal indication and a method of monitoring and reporting any change in the duration of the yellow
phase at an enforced intersection.
§17C-13A-4. Scope of the article.
This article applies to a violation at an intersection
monitored by a traffic control signal monitoring system.
§17C-13A-5. Civil penalty; procedure.
(a) A violation detected solely by a traffic control signal
monitoring system is a noncriminal violation for which a civil
penalty is assessed. No court costs, assessments or surcharges
may be assessed against the owner or driver of the vehicle
charged under this article and no points may be assigned by the
division of motor vehicles to the owner or driver of the vehicle.
(b) A civil penalty under this article may not exceed one
(c) Subject to the provisions of this article:
(1) The municipal court clerk or the magistrate court clerk
shall mail to the owner liable under this section a citation,
which shall include all of the following:
(A) The name and address of the registered owner of the
(B) The registration number of the motor vehicle involved in
(C) The violation charged;
(D) The location of the intersection;
(E) The date and time of the violation;
(F) A copy of the recorded images;
(G) The amount of the civil penalty imposed, and the date by
which the civil penalty should be paid;
(H) A signed statement by a properly trained and qualified
technician employed by the law-enforcement or other agency that
states in pertinent part that based upon the technician?s
inspection of recorded images, the motor vehicle was being
operated in violation of state or local traffic laws; and
(I) A statement that recorded images are evidence of a
violation of this section; and information advising the person
alleged to be liable under this section of the manner and time in
which liability as alleged in the citation may be contested, and
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 the refusal to register or reregister the motor
vehicle, or the suspension of the motor vehicle registration.
(2) A citation issued under this section shall be mailed no
later than two weeks after the alleged violation.
(3) An agency may not mail a citation to a person who is not
an owner unless it is determined by evidence before the court
that another person was driving the motor vehicle at the time of the violation and that person may be mailed a citation.
(4) A person who receives a citation may pay the civil
penalty, in accordance with the instructions on the citation,
directly to the court or elect to contest the citation before the
magistrate or the municipal judge. No person charged under the
provisions of this section is eligible for a court appointed
attorney to represent them in any court proceeding.
(a) Adjudication of liability shall be based on a
preponderance of evidence. A certificate, sworn to or affirmed
by a duly authorized law-enforcement agent stating that based
upon an inspection of recorded images produced by a traffic
control monitoring system a violation of the traffic laws
occurred, shall be evidence of the facts contained therein and
shall be admissible in any proceeding alleging a violation under
(b) A court may consider any of the following in defense of
(1) The driver of the vehicle passed through the
intersection in violation of this chapter in order to yield the
right-of-way to an emergency vehicle, or as part of a funeral
(2) The motor vehicle or registration plates 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
(3) The citation is unenforceable against the owner because
at the time and place of the alleged violation the traffic
control signal was not in proper position and able to be seen by
an ordinary observant individual;
(4) Evidence that the person named in the citation was not
operating the vehicle at the time of the violation; or
(5) Any other issues and evidence that the court deems
(c) In order to demonstrate that the motor vehicle or the
motor vehicle registration plates were stolen before the
violation occurred and the motor vehicle was not under the
control or possession of the owner at the time of the violation,
the owner must submit proof that a police report concerning the
stolen motor vehicle or registration plate was filed in a timely
manner prior to the alleged violation. To satisfy the
evidentiary burden, the person named in the citation must provide
to the court a letter sworn to or affirmed by the person and sent
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. The affidavit also must provide the name, address and driver?s license identification number of the person
who was operating the vehicle at the time of the violation if
(d) 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 shall provide to the agency
issuing the citation a copy of any evidence identifying the
person who was operating the vehicle at the time of the
violation. Upon receipt of substantiating evidence from the
municipal court, the law-enforcement agency may issue a citation
to the person that the evidence indicates was operating the
vehicle at the time of the violation. The citation shall be
mailed no later than two weeks after receipt of the evidence from
(e) If the civil penalty is not paid and the violation is
not contested, the agency shall forward in writing to the
division of motor vehicles the motor vehicle owner information,
along with a statement that the owner of the motor vehicle
involved in the violation has not paid the penalty, or that the
owner failed to contest the citation, or both. Upon receipt of
the information, the division of motor vehicles shall suspend the
vehicle?s current registration and may not register or reregister the motor vehicle until it receives written notification from the
agency that the owner has paid the penalty, or has otherwise
resolved the payment of the citation with the agency.
(f) A violation of this section is not a moving violation
and may not be recorded on the driving record of the owner or
driver of the vehicle. The violation shall be treated as a
parking violation for purposes of this section and may not be
considered in the provision of motor vehicle insurance coverage.
(g) A municipal court has jurisdiction to try all cases
arising within the municipality and the magistrate court has
jurisdiction to try all cases arising outside of a municipality
or in a municipality if charged in that court. A court has the
power to punish for contempt as provided by law.
§17C-13A-7. Ordinance required.
A county commission and the governing body of a municipality
may adopt ordinances for the civil enforcement of the provisions
of this article by means of traffic control signal monitoring
systems in compliance with the provisions of this article.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to establish the "West
Virginia Red Light Running Act of 2004." Under the bill, a
municipality or county commission may provide for a traffic
control signal monitoring system to monitor violations of stoplight laws involving running red lights. A civil penalty of
not more than one hundred dollars may be charged for violations
but the violations are to be considered by insurers and the
Division of Motor Vehicles the same as parking violations.
This article is new; therefore, strike-throughs and
underscoring have been omitted.