A bill that would allow the use of automated vehicle identification systems to enforce traffic laws in the state has been filed for the 2021 Wyoming Legislature.

Currently, such cameras are only used to enforce laws against motorists who violate traffic laws in regard to school buses in Wyoming. You can read Senate File 3 here.

Under the proposal, the cameras would be used as evidence for speeding violations as well as size or weight limits and other traffic violations. The cameras would record the car, the license plate, and the driver of the vehicle. If the driver could not be identified, the registered owner of the vehicle would be issued a fine based on the traffic violation.

But the owner of the vehicle could dispute the fine if someone else was driving the vehicle without permission. Signs would be posted in areas where the automated systems are in use under the bill.

While cameras are currently posted at intersections in Cheyenne and other communities around Wyoming, those cameras are used to record traffic data and are not admissible as evidence of traffic violations under current state law.

But Colorado is among 19 states that already allow the use of such cameras in issuing traffic tickets. The fiscal note attached to Senate File 3 on the Wyoming Legislature website estimates that the installation of the cameras on Interstates 80 and 25. Teton Pass and school and construction zones would generate roughly $7.2 million in fines.

Wyoming currently faces major revenue shortages, due in part to declining tax collections from the state's energy industries. Taxes on minerals and energy have traditionally made up the majority of state revenue collections. The bill is being sponsored by the Senate Transportation Committee.

While the legislature is scheduled to convene on Jan. 12, it looks like the bulk of the 2021 session will be postponed until later in the year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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