Tennessee lawmaker calls out critics of anti-traffic camera campaign

Rep. Andy Holt clashes with Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch over traffic cameras

Rep. Andy Holt burns traffic camera citations. (source: Andy Holt/Facebook)

NASHVILLE (WATE) – A state lawmaker is responding to criticism of an online video in which he burned a stack of traffic camera tickets, saying, “you’re the irresponsible ones.”

Rep. Andy Holt issued a statement Tuesday in response to an editorial that appeared in the Knoxville News Sentinel saying his anti-photo enforcement campaign was “irresponsible,” and that the cameras make roads safer.

Holt says studies that say the cameras have a statistically significant safety benefit have been debunked because of analytical flaws, manipulated statistics and a clear profit/revenue motive.

More online: Read Holt’s full statement

Rep. Holt also took aim at the lobbying group Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police, headed by Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch, alleging the group first got cameras placed in Tennessee by “supporting manipulative changes in the law” and providing the state with a fiscal note “saying that cities will lose tens of thousands of dollars in revenue” if they required a statement on traffic camera tickets saying they could not affect your credit score, driver’s license or insurance rates.

Holt says it has been law for years that the tickets cannot affect those things, but he sponsored legislation requiring a notice to be printed on the tickets themselves.

Previous story: Tennessee state representative burns traffic camera citations in viral video

“As President of TACP, Chief Rausch has openly asked the public to disregard my comments, and in essence, the state law. Chief Rausch has an inherent bias against my comments since his department benefits directly & significantly from the revenue stream supplied by unmanned photo-enforcement. Many may not be aware of that fact, if they were not made aware in a venue such as this column… I sure hope that fact is not viewed as ‘irresponsible,'” said HOlt.

Rausch responded to Holt’s comments Tuesday:

As has been stated previously, I certainly hope and expect all residents and visitors will obey traffic laws for their safety and the safety of all in our community regardless of how they are enforced.

Failing to stop for a red light is one of the most dangerous actions a motorist can do. I can’t speak to the experience in other jurisdictions, but in Knoxville our use of photo enforcement cameras at high collision incident locations has significantly reduced crashes and the costs associated with them at these locations. The benefit of this program for Knoxville is the lives saved, the injuries to individuals reduced and the damages to property prevented.

 

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