Speed Van Legal?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009 - 5:37pm

A state law has some people asking if the speed van in Livingston Parish is against law. The van parks on the side of the road targeting speeders. If you’re busted you’ll get a ticket in the mail, but now there’s a new controversy.

The controversy centers around a Louisiana statute that says police can’t use cameras to record speeders and mail out tickets at a later date, which is exactly what the speed van in Livingston Parish does. The Sheriff’s Office, however, says the van is not violating the law.

The speed van is owned and operated by a company called Redflex. If you speed past, smile because it’ll take your picture and you’ll get a ticket in the mail. Louisiana law says police officers can’t do this, but the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office says the van can. Jason Ard with Livingston Sheriff’s Office says, “I see what the law says, but we’re not acting under the law.”

The Louisiana law refers to criminal speeding. If a cop pulls you over for speeding it is considered a criminal act. “We’re writing them for a Parish ordinance, which is a civil ordinance. In that respect, getting a ticket from the speed van is like getting a parking ticket. “It doesn’t go on your record. It does not go on your driving record. This is strictly a civil violation.”

The person inside the speed van is not a police officer and the Livingston Sheriff’s Office says they’re not worried about the state statute because it refers to criminal rather than civil citations. “The violation of a civil ordinance if the van catches you speeding, and it’s a criminal act if a deputy pulls you over for speeding.”

The Livingston Sheriff’s Office says the van is good for the growing parish so deputies can focus on crime rather than speeding, and according the Sheriff’s Office people are slowing down.

This side note: if you’re pulled over by a cop you have the right to appear in court to appeal the ticket, if you get a ticket from the speed van you can also contest the ticket by calling the Sheriff’s Office.