Although the panel he leads has not yet met and has missed a Nov. 1 deadline to report to state lawmakers, Glenn McCall says the S.C. Traffic Enforcement Commission will not remain dormant for long.
McCall, chairman of the York County Republican Party, was appointed Friday by Gov. Nikki Haley to chair the 13-member commission, which was created by state lawmakers in June to examine the ethical, legal and policy issues posed by traffic cameras.
Several state officials have said the group never met, and that the panel failed to produce a report to the General Assembly by Nov. 1, as instructed by state law.
A Haley spokesman blamed the oversight on language in the bill that did not specify how the study group would be staffed.
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McCall said he has spent much of the past week researching the use of cameras to enforce traffic laws and intends to convene the panel within two weeks.
"I'd love to meet next week, if possible," McCall said. "If we can't, we certainly will meet before the week of Thanksgiving so we can begin to divvy up the questions that we are required, by the law, to answer."
The study group must answer more than 20 questions related to the use of traffic cameras. Those questions include the constitutionality of mailing speeding tickets to alleged violators, whether the state has enough judges and magistrates to handle the increase in citations and whether the S.C. Department of Public Safety should be the only agency authorized to use the cameras.
McCall said the panel's work will go a long way toward determining the usefulness of traffic cameras, which were first used in the state last year by the town of Ridgeland. Officials there pulled the plug on the cameras after state lawmakers in June outlawed their use to enforce speeding laws and tickets based on photographic evidence.
"I was reading through some studies this weekend ... and it appears when you put those cameras up, folks do tend to slow down and they do reduce accidents," McCall said. "This is an important issue, and we need to have our findings to the legislature before it reconvenes."
State lawmakers are expected to reconvene Jan. 10, according to state records.
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