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Speed Photo Radar and Red Light Cameras (Automated Vehicle Identification Systems)

Automated Vehicle Identification Systems (AVIS) include red light cameras and photo speed vans.  State law establishes the maximum original penalty for traffic violations detected by these systems.  The maximum penalty for a violation captured by a red light camera is $75.  The maximum penalty for a speed violation captured by a photo speed van is $40.  However, the photo speed van maximum is doubled in a school zone and does not apply within a maintenance, construction, or repair zone.  If it is an individual's first offense captured by a photo speed van and he or she is detected driving less than 10 miles per hour over the speed limit, the governmental entity is required to issue a warning.  Subsequent fees for violations captured by either system may apply due to failure to respond, personal service, and default.  In the case of default, the penalty may be sent to a collection agency.

AVIS cannot be used to detect a violation unless a sign is posted to notify the public that such a system is in use.  A penalty assessment notice or summons must be delivered within 90 days of the alleged violation.  Governmental entities are not permitted to enforce a penalty by immobilizing a vehicle or reporting it to the Division of Motor Vehicles.  No points may be assessed against an individual's driver license for a violation detected through the use of AVIS.  There are limits on the use of photo speed van enforcement that do not apply to red light cameras, which limit the use of photo speed van use to school zones, residential neighborhoods, within maintenance, construction, or repair zones, or along a street that borders a municipal park.

Citation issuance.  Current law requires that penalty assessment notices or summons and complaints are issued to the registered owner of a motor vehicle.   State and local governments may not require that a require that a registered owner of a vehicle disclose the identity of the driver of vehicle, but registered vehicle owners may be required to submit evidence that the owner was not the driver at the time of the alleged violation.  For example, if a husband was driving a car registered to his wife alone, his wife would receive the summons for the traffic violation.  The spouse could be required to prove that she was not the person driving the car at the time of the incident, but would not have to provide her husband's identity as the driver. 

As of 2018, nine local governments use AVIS: Aurora, Boulder, Commerce City, Denver, Fort Collins, Greenwood Village, Lone Tree, Pueblo, and Sheridan.  Colorado Springs will reinstall AVIS systems in the fall of 2018.  Aurora will discontinue their program in 2019.  The State of Colorado does not currently use AVIS to enforce traffic laws on state highways.

Legislative Council Staff has prepared an Issue Brief on AVIS, which provides more information about these regulations