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'Photo cop' may return to Utah under new bill in the legislature

Posted at 4:47 PM, Feb 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-10 19:07:49-05

SALT LAKE CITY — "Photo cop," the nickname for the controversial automated photo radar system, may return to Utah under a bill introduced in the legislature.

Sen. Jerry Stevenson, R-Layton, filed Senate Bill 196, which brings back photo radar, reversing a ban the Utah State Legislature imposed in 1996. In an interview with FOX 13 News, Sen. Stevenson said his bill would limit photo radar to construction zones, school zones and limited areas where law enforcement can't get to.

"Photo cop" has always been controversial. When Utah introduced it decades ago, it faced public push back. You have a constitutional right to face your accuser in court — but what if the accuser is a machine? Sen. Stevenson acknowledged it's a balancing act with people's lives and safety in traffic.

"I think it becomes controversial as we talk about the life-safety factor versus the bending of rights a little bit," he said. "So I think it’s a good bill the way it’s written and I believe we’ve got a great opportunity to maybe save lives and make some of these dangerous situations much more safe."