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In the eastern Iowa town of Sioux City, police have installed red-light cameras at several intersections as well as speed cameras on Interstate 29. But when motorists in one neighboring state are caught on camera breaking a traffic law, Sioux City police may have a difficult time collecting the fine. HB 1122, passed this year by the South Dakota Legislature, restricts the state from sharing information with other states seeking driver’s license data to enforce civil penalties in traffic-camera cases.

A number of states use traffic cameras to catch speeders and red light runners. While supporters say cameras have the potential to aid law enforcement, improve safety and bring in revenues from ticketed violations, they are increasingly controversial. Critics say they invade privacy, serve to administer backdoor tax increases, benefit for-profit companies more than safety and actually cause accidents in some cases. These debates have created a hodgepodge of wildly different state and local statutes around the country and a variety of re-evaluations of the merits of cameras in traffic enforcement.

April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month and we have a new Capitol Research brief just out looking at “Enforcement of Texting While Driving Bans.” It examines the state of anti-texting statutes and recent legislative efforts around the country, as well as the efforts of law enforcement to assess strategies for catching texters in the act. But here’s a roundup of some additional related resources from around the web.

Primary seat belt enforcement laws, in which a person can be ticketed solely for not wearing a seat belt, have resulted in an increase in national seat belt usage rates and a corresponding decrease in the number of automobile fatalities.  

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) today updated the status of its list of most wanted safety improvements that state governments can make. The list includes requiring booster seats for young children, primary seat belt laws, graduated licensing laws for young drivers, hard core drinking driver program elements, cell phone use restrictions for young drivers and passenger restriction laws for teen drivers. The NTSB also added a new issue area they’re now tracking: motorcycle safety and helmet laws. While a handful of states have made significant progress in adopting laws in all these areas, many states have not yet adopted them despite their proven ability to save lives, the NTSB reported.