Law:Title 7. Vehicles And Traffic. Subtitle I. Enforcement Of Traffic Laws from Chapter 707. Photographic Traffic Signal (Texas)

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Subtitle I. Enforcement Of Traffic Laws

Contents

Chapter 707. Photographic Traffic Signal

ENFORCEMENT SYSTEM


Section 707.001.  Definitions.

In this chapter:

(1)  "Local authority" has the meaning assigned by Section 541.002.

(2)  "Owner of a motor vehicle" means the owner of a motor vehicle as shown on the motor vehicle registration records of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles or the analogous department or agency of another state or country.

(3)  "Photographic traffic signal enforcement system" means a system that:

(A)  consists of a camera system and vehicle sensor installed to exclusively work in conjunction with an electrically operated traffic-control signal; and

(B)  is capable of producing at least two recorded images that depict the license plate attached to the front or the rear of a motor vehicle that is not operated in compliance with the instructions of the traffic-control signal.

(4)  "Recorded image" means a photographic or digital image that depicts the front or the rear of a motor vehicle.

(5)  "Traffic-control signal" has the meaning assigned by Section 541.304.

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1149, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2007.

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 933, Sec. 2T.01, eff. September 1, 2009.



Section 707.002.  Authority To Provide For Civil Penalty.

The governing body of a local authority by ordinance may implement a photographic traffic signal enforcement system and provide that the owner of a motor vehicle is liable to the local authority for a civil penalty if, while facing only a steady red signal displayed by an electrically operated traffic-control signal located in the local authority, the vehicle is operated in violation of the instructions of that traffic-control signal, as specified by Section 544.007(d).

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1149, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2007.



Section 707.0021.  Imposition Of Civil Penalty On Owner Of Authorized Emergency Vehicle. (a)

In this section, "authorized emergency vehicle" has the meaning assigned by Section 541.201.

(b)  A local authority may not impose or attempt to impose a civil penalty under this chapter on the owner of an authorized emergency vehicle.

(c)  This section does not prohibit an employer from taking disciplinary action against an employee who as the operator of an authorized emergency vehicle operated the vehicle in violation of a rule or policy of the employer.

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 502, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2009.



Section 707.003.  Installation And Operation Of Photographic Traffic Signal Enforcement System.

(a) A local authority that implements a photographic traffic signal enforcement system under this chapter may:

(1)  contract for the administration and enforcement of the system; and

(2)  install and operate the system or contract for the installation or operation of the system.

(b)  A local authority that contracts for the administration and enforcement of a photographic traffic signal enforcement system may not agree to pay the contractor a specified percentage of, or dollar amount from, each civil penalty collected.

(c)  Before installing a photographic traffic signal enforcement system at an intersection approach, the local authority shall conduct a traffic engineering study of the approach to determine whether, in addition to or as an alternative to the system, a design change to the approach or a change in the signalization of the intersection is likely to reduce the number of red light violations at the intersection.

(d)  An intersection approach must be selected for the installation of a photographic traffic signal enforcement system based on traffic volume, the history of accidents at the approach, the number or frequency of red light violations at the intersection, and similar traffic engineering and safety criteria, without regard to the ethnic or socioeconomic characteristics of the area in which the approach is located.

(e)  A local authority shall report results of the traffic engineering study required by Subsection (c) to a citizen advisory committee consisting of one person appointed by each member of the governing body of the local authority.  The committee shall advise the local authority on the installation and operation of a photographic traffic signal enforcement system established under this chapter.

(f)  A local authority may not impose a civil penalty under this chapter on the owner of a motor vehicle if the local authority violates Subsection (b) or (c).

(g)  The local authority shall install signs along each roadway that leads to an intersection at which a photographic traffic signal enforcement system is in active use.  The signs must be at least 100 feet from the intersection or located according to standards established in the manual adopted by the Texas Transportation Commission under Section 544.001, be easily readable to any operator approaching the intersection, and clearly indicate the presence of a photographic monitoring system that records violations that may result in the issuance of a notice of violation and the imposition of a monetary penalty.

(h)  A local authority or the person with which the local authority contracts for the administration and enforcement of a photographic traffic signal enforcement system may not provide information about a civil penalty imposed under this chapter to a credit bureau, as defined by Section 392.001, Finance Code.

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1149, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2007.



Section 707.004.  Report Of Accidents.

(a) In this section, "department" means the Texas Department of Transportation.

(b)  Before installing a photographic traffic signal enforcement system at an intersection approach, the local authority shall compile a written report of the number and type of traffic accidents that have occurred at the intersection for a period of at least 18 months before the date of the report.

(c)  Not later than six months after the date of the installation of the photographic traffic signal enforcement system at the intersection, the local authority shall provide the department a copy of the report required by Subsection (b).

(d)  After installing a photographic traffic signal enforcement system at an intersection approach, the local authority shall monitor and annually report to the department the number and type of traffic accidents at the intersection to determine whether the system results in a reduction in accidents or a reduction in the severity of accidents.

(e)  The report must be in writing in the form prescribed by the department.

(f)  Not later than December 1 of each year, the department shall publish the information submitted by a local authority under Subsection (d).

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1149, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2007.



Section 707.005.  Minimum Change Interval.

At an intersection at which a photographic traffic monitoring system is in use, the minimum change interval for a steady yellow signal must be established in accordance with the Texas Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1149, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2007.



Section 707.006.  General Surveillance Prohibited; Offense.

(a) A local authority shall operate a photographic traffic control signal enforcement system only for the purpose of detecting a violation or suspected violation of a traffic-control signal.

(b)  A person commits an offense if the person uses a photographic traffic signal enforcement system to produce a recorded image other than in the manner and for the purpose specified by this chapter.

(c)  An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor.

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1149, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2007.



Section 707.007.  Amount Of Civil Penalty; Late Payment Penalty.

If a local authority enacts an ordinance to enforce compliance with the instructions of a traffic-control signal by the imposition of a civil or administrative penalty, the amount of:

(1)  the civil or administrative penalty may not exceed $75; and

(2)  a late payment penalty may not exceed $25.

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1149, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2007.



Section 707.008.  Deposit Of Revenue From Certain Traffic Penalties.

(a) Not later than the 60th day after the end of a local authority's fiscal year, after deducting amounts the local authority is authorized by Subsection (b) to retain, the local authority shall:

(1)  send 50 percent of the revenue derived from civil or administrative penalties collected by the local authority under this section to the comptroller for deposit to the credit of the regional trauma account established under Section 782.002, Health and Safety Code; and

(2)  deposit the remainder of the revenue in a special account in the local authority's treasury that may be used only to fund traffic safety programs, including pedestrian safety programs, public safety programs, intersection improvements, and traffic enforcement.

(b)  A local authority may retain an amount necessary to cover the costs of:

(1)  purchasing or leasing equipment that is part of or used in connection with the photographic traffic signal enforcement system in the local authority;

(2)  installing the photographic traffic signal enforcement system at sites in the local authority, including the costs of installing cameras, flashes, computer equipment, loop sensors, detectors, utility lines, data lines, poles and mounts, networking equipment, and associated labor costs;

(3)  operating the photographic traffic signal enforcement system in the local authority, including the costs of creating, distributing, and delivering violation notices, review of violations conducted by employees of the local authority, the processing of fine payments and collections, and the costs associated with administrative adjudications and appeals; and

(4)  maintaining the general upkeep and functioning of the photographic traffic signal enforcement system.

(c)  Chapter 133, Local Government Code, applies to fee revenue described by Subsection (a)(1).

(d)  If under Section 133.059, Local Government Code, the comptroller conducts an audit of a local authority and determines that the local authority retained more than the amounts authorized by this section or failed to deposit amounts as required by this section, the comptroller may impose a penalty on the local authority equal to twice the amount the local authority:

(1)  retained in excess of the amount authorized by this section; or

(2)  failed to deposit as required by this section.

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1149, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2007.



Section 707.009.  Required Ordinance Provisions.

An ordinance adopted under Section 707.002 must provide that a person against whom the local authority seeks to impose a civil penalty is entitled to a hearing and shall:

(1)  provide for the period in which the hearing must be held;

(2)  provide for the appointment of a hearing officer with authority to administer oaths and issue orders compelling the attendance of witnesses and the production of documents; and

(3)  designate the department, agency, or office of the local authority responsible for the enforcement and administration of the ordinance or provide that the entity with which the local authority contracts under Section 707.003(a)(1) is responsible for the enforcement and administration of the ordinance.

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1149, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2007.



Section 707.010.  Effect On Other Enforcement.

(a) The implementation of a photographic traffic signal enforcement system by a local authority under this chapter does not:

(1)  preclude the application or enforcement in the local authority of Section 544.007(d) in the manner prescribed by Chapter 543; or

(2)  prohibit a peace officer from arresting a violator of Section 544.007(d) as provided by Chapter 543, if the peace officer personally witnesses the violation, or from issuing the violator a citation and notice to appear as provided by that chapter.

(b)  A local authority may not impose a civil penalty under this chapter on the owner of a motor vehicle if the operator of the vehicle was arrested or issued a citation and notice to appear by a peace officer for the same violation of Section 544.007(d) recorded by the photographic traffic signal enforcement system.

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1149, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2007.



Section 707.011.  Notice Of Violation; Contents.

(a) The imposition of a civil penalty under this chapter is initiated by the mailing of a notice of violation to the owner of the motor vehicle against whom the local authority seeks to impose the civil penalty.

(b)  Not later than the 30th day after the date the violation is alleged to have occurred, the designated department, agency, or office of the local authority or the entity with which the local authority contracts under Section 707.003(a)(1) shall mail the notice of violation to the owner at:

(1)  the owner's address as shown on the registration records of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles; or

(2)  if the vehicle is registered in another state or country, the owner's address as shown on the motor vehicle registration records of the department or agency of the other state or country analogous to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles.

(c)  The notice of violation must contain:

(1)  a description of the violation alleged;

(2)  the location of the intersection where the violation occurred;

(3)  the date and time of the violation;

(4)  the name and address of the owner of the vehicle involved in the violation;

(5)  the registration number displayed on the license plate of the vehicle involved in the violation;

(6)  a copy of a recorded image of the violation limited solely to a depiction of the area of the registration number displayed on the license plate of the vehicle involved in the violation;

(7)  the amount of the civil penalty for which the owner is liable;

(8)  the number of days the person has in which to pay or contest the imposition of the civil penalty and a statement that the person incurs a late payment penalty if the civil penalty is not paid or imposition of the penalty is not contested within that period;

(9)  a statement that the owner of the vehicle in the notice of violation may elect to pay the civil penalty by mail sent to a specified address instead of appearing at the time and place of the administrative adjudication hearing; and

(10)  information that informs the owner of the vehicle named in the notice of violation:

(A)  of the owner's right to contest the imposition of the civil penalty against the person in an administrative adjudication hearing;

(B)  that imposition of the civil penalty may be contested by submitting a written request for an administrative adjudication hearing before the expiration of the period specified under Subdivision (8); and

(C)  that failure to pay the civil penalty or to contest liability for the penalty in a timely manner is an admission of liability and a waiver of the owner's right to appeal the imposition of the civil penalty.

(d)  A notice of violation is presumed to have been received on the fifth day after the date the notice is mailed.

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1149, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2007.

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 933, Sec. 2T.02, eff. September 1, 2009.



Section 707.012.  Admission Of Liability.

A person who fails to pay the civil penalty or to contest liability for the penalty in a timely manner or who requests an administrative adjudication hearing to contest the imposition of the civil penalty against the person and fails to appear at that hearing is considered to:

(1)  admit liability for the full amount of the civil penalty stated in the notice of violation mailed to the person; and

(2)  waive the person's right to appeal the imposition of the civil penalty.

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1149, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2007.



Section 707.013.  Presumption.

(a) It is presumed that the owner of the motor vehicle committed the violation alleged in the notice of violation mailed to the person if the motor vehicle depicted in a photograph or digital image taken by a photographic traffic signal enforcement system belongs to the owner of the motor vehicle.

(b)  If, at the time of the violation alleged in the notice of violation, the motor vehicle depicted in a photograph or digital image taken by a photographic traffic signal enforcement system was owned by a person in the business of selling, renting, or leasing motor vehicles or by a person who was not the person named in the notice of violation, the presumption under Subsection (a) is rebutted on the presentation of evidence establishing that the vehicle was at that time:

(1)  being test driven by another person;

(2)  being rented or leased by the vehicle's owner to another person; or

(3)  owned by a person who was not the person named in the notice of violation.

(c)  Notwithstanding Section 707.014, the presentation of evidence under Subsection (b) by a person who is in the business of selling, renting, or leasing motor vehicles or did not own the vehicle at the time of the violation must be made by affidavit, through testimony at the administrative adjudication hearing under Section 707.014, or by a written declaration under penalty of perjury.  The affidavit or written declaration may be submitted by mail to the local authority or the entity with which the local authority contracts under Section 707.003(a)(1).

(d)  If the presumption established by Subsection (a) is rebutted under Subsection (b), a civil penalty may not be imposed on the owner of the vehicle or the person named in the notice of violation, as applicable.

(e)  If, at the time of the violation alleged in the notice of violation, the motor vehicle depicted in the photograph or digital image taken by the photographic traffic signal enforcement system was owned by a person in the business of renting or leasing motor vehicles and the vehicle was being rented or leased to an individual, the owner of the motor vehicle shall provide to the local authority or the entity with which the local authority contracts under Section 707.003(a)(1) the name and address of the individual who was renting or leasing the motor vehicle depicted in the photograph or digital image and a statement of the period during which that individual was renting or leasing the vehicle.  The owner shall provide the information required by this subsection not later than the 30th day after the date the notice of violation is received.  If the owner provides the required information, it is presumed that the individual renting or leasing the motor vehicle committed the violation alleged in the notice of violation and the local authority or contractor may send a notice of violation to that individual at the address provided by the owner of the motor vehicle.

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1149, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2007.



Section 707.014.  Administrative Adjudication Hearing.

(a) A person who receives a notice of violation under this chapter may contest the imposition of the civil penalty specified in the notice of violation by filing a written request for an administrative adjudication hearing.  The request for a hearing must be filed on or before the date specified in the notice of violation, which may not be earlier than the 30th day after the date the notice of violation was mailed.

(b)  On receipt of a timely request for an administrative adjudication hearing, the local authority shall notify the person of the date and time of the hearing.

(c)  A hearing officer designated by the governing body of the local authority shall conduct the administrative adjudication hearing.

(d)  In an administrative adjudication hearing, the issues must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence.

(e)  The reliability of the photographic traffic signal enforcement system used to produce the recorded image of the motor vehicle involved in the violation may be attested to by affidavit of an officer or employee of the local authority or of the entity with which the local authority contracts under Section 707.003(a)(1) who is responsible for inspecting and maintaining the system.

(f)  An affidavit of an officer or employee of the local authority or entity that alleges a violation based on an inspection of the applicable recorded image is:

(1)  admissible in the administrative adjudication hearing and in an appeal under Section 707.016; and

(2)  evidence of the facts contained in the affidavit.

(g)  At the conclusion of the administrative adjudication hearing, the hearing officer shall enter a finding of liability for the civil penalty or a finding of no liability for the civil penalty.  A finding under this subsection must be in writing and be signed and dated by the hearing officer.

(h)  A finding of liability for a civil penalty must specify the amount of the civil penalty for which the person is liable.  If the hearing officer enters a finding of no liability, a civil penalty for the violation may not be imposed against the person.

(i)  A finding of liability or a finding of no liability entered under this section may:

(1)  be filed with the clerk or secretary of the local authority or with a person designated by the governing body of the local authority; and

(2)  be recorded on microfilm or microfiche or using data processing techniques.

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1149, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2007.



Section 707.015.  Untimely Request For Administrative Adjudication Hearing.

Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, a person who receives a notice of violation under this chapter and who fails to timely pay the amount of the civil penalty or fails to timely request an administrative adjudication hearing is entitled to an administrative adjudication hearing if:

(1)  the person submits a written request for the hearing to the designated hearing officer, accompanied by an affidavit that attests to the date on which the person received the notice of violation; and

(2)  the written request and affidavit are submitted to the hearing officer within the same number of days after the date the person received the notice of violation as specified under Section 707.011(c)(8).

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1149, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2007.



Section 707.016.  Appeal.

(a) The owner of a motor vehicle determined by a hearing officer to be liable for a civil penalty may appeal that determination to a judge by filing an appeal petition with the clerk of the court.  The petition must be filed with:

(1)  a justice court of the county in which the local authority is located; or

(2)  if the local authority is a municipality, the municipal court of the municipality.

(b)  The petition must be:

(1)  filed before the 31st day after the date on which the administrative adjudication hearing officer entered the finding of liability for the civil penalty; and

(2)  accompanied by payment of the costs required by law for the court.

(c)  The court clerk shall schedule a hearing and notify the owner of the motor vehicle and the appropriate department, agency, or office of the local authority of the date, time, and place of the hearing.

(d)  An appeal stays enforcement and collection of the civil penalty imposed against the owner of the motor vehicle.  The owner shall file a notarized statement of personal financial obligation to perfect the owner's appeal.

(e)  An appeal under this section shall be determined by the court by trial de novo.

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1149, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2007.



Text of section as amended by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 266, Sec. 1

For text of section as amended by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 542, Sec. 4, see other Sec. 707.017.

Section 707.017.  Enforcement.

(a) If the owner of a motor vehicle is delinquent in the payment of a civil penalty imposed under this chapter, the county assessor-collector or the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles may refuse to register a motor vehicle alleged to have been involved in the violation.

(b)  This section does not apply to the registration of a motor vehicle under Section 501.0234.

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1149, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2007.

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 266, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 2009.

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 933, Sec. 2T.03, eff. September 1, 2009.



Text of section as amended by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 542, Sec. 4

For text of section as amended by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 266, Sec. 1, see other Sec. 707.017.

Section 707.017.  Enforcement. If T

he owner of a motor vehicle is delinquent in the payment of a civil penalty imposed under this chapter, the county assessor-collector or the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles may refuse to register a motor vehicle alleged to have been involved in the violation.  This section does not apply to the registration of a motor vehicle under Section 501.0234.

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1149, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2007.

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 542, Sec. 4, eff. September 1, 2009.

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 933, Sec. 2T.03, eff. September 1, 2009.



Section 707.018.  Imposition Of Civil Penalty Not A Conviction.

The imposition of a civil penalty under this chapter is not a conviction and may not be considered a conviction for any purpose.

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1149, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2007.



Section 707.019.  Failure To Pay Civil Penalty.

(a) If the owner of the motor vehicle fails to timely pay the amount of the civil penalty imposed against the owner:

(1)  an arrest warrant may not be issued for the owner; and

(2)  the imposition of the civil penalty may not be recorded on the owner's driving record.

(b)  Notice of Subsection (a) must be included in the notice of violation required by Section 707.011(c).

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1149, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2007.


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