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New way to fight red-light camera tickets

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Updated: 11/19/2013 11:50 pm
GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla.-- Red-light runners have a new option instead of going to court.

With the flash of light, a local driver got a ticket for running the red light. Carly Roberts got one, too. She didn't fight it and just paid the $158 fine.

"They told me I didn't make the stop, and the only choice I had was to pay the ticket," said Roberts.

But not everyone who gets a ticket just forks over the money. A new change in the state law says you don't even have to pay an attorney to take it to court either. You can fight it yourself.

"A judge can add on whatever cost he wants," said J. J. Faro with the Green Cove Springs Police Department.

Faro looked through video of local red red-light camera runners. He has seen runners, accidents and some close calls. Now this kind of evidence can be presented before a civil magistrate. We did some checking and found out very few people who fought tickets this way have actually won since the law changed in July.

"It's all up to the judge and depends on the evidence," said Faro.

Eight people fought it last month in Green Cove Springs. There were no dismissals. In Orange Park, only three out of the nearly two dozen people had the tickets dismissed. In addition to the $158 ticket, a judge can also charge someone up to $250 in court fees.

On Wednesday a special magistrate in Green Cove Springs will hear people make their cases to get red-light camera tickets dismissed.

If you get pulled over by police for running a red light at a non-red-light camera intersection, that ticket will cost you $262 and four points on your license.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of Action News Jacksonville

Paul Henry - 11/21/2013 3:00 AM
0 Votes
Clearwater is the only city in Florida to release* actual numbers (albeit obscurely) for red light violation (RLV) and total crashes at their two camera intersections. In 12 months before and after, the RLV crashes doubled after use of the camera scheme from 3 to 6, and total crashes more than tripled from 40 to 132. This is why cities refuse to release actual numbers of crashes, instead using "fuzzy math" with percentages and things such as "side-impact" crashes- which are mostly caused by failure to yield, not a RLV. *Source: Clearwater Beacon, October 3, 2013.

Paul Henry - 11/21/2013 2:56 AM
0 Votes
Florida had 53 fatal red light violation (RLV) crashes in 2010 according to the DHSMV. In 2011, the first full year of the camera scheme, the DHSMV failed to release this data. Obtaining it via the DOT, I found the 53 increased to 72, a nearly 36% increase.

Paul Henry - 11/21/2013 2:53 AM
0 Votes
Contrary to what the camera supporters (employees?) here say, no driver has ever been ticketed in Florida's red light camera scheme. The vehicle owner is ticketed, and then either pays the fine, "fingers" another that MAY have committed the offense (the owner would not know this unless they were in the vehicle), or they take their chance in a kangaroo court where they, not the government, must prove who broke the law. This is contrary to American justice, but par for a scheme designed to maximize revenue.

Paul Henry - 11/21/2013 2:49 AM
0 Votes
Looks like a plethora of camera vendor employees commenting. Here are some facts about the kangaroo court in the story: The law authorizing same came to be at 1:35 AM on the next to last day of the 2013 session. No time for public input or debate. Next, these are not judges. Hearing officers are selected by the city, who stands to profit from their rubber-stamping the tickets. The hearing officers are not required to have any legal training, and cannot use formal rules of evidence. The $250 add-on fee is pure profit for the city- unlike the $158 ticket, which must be split with the camera vendor and the state.

whosaysnocan - 11/20/2013 7:45 AM
0 Votes
I am all for these cameras. I may not be the "best" driver ever, but I am a cautious and considerate one. I follow the speed limits, pay attention to the traffic signals, use the turn indicator, do not answer cell if it should ring while driving. What I observe is that many the are speeding, excessive lane changing, on the cell, texting or talking, they appear young which equals to inexperience driving. These are the worse offenders of poor/bad driving habits. We all develop driving habits, some worse than others. I have be driving for at least 40 years. Have driven in many states, including what many dread as the Calif highway system. Drove on military bases for several decades~that driving is truly a privilege vice that of what many believe as a right. With the technology of the traffic cameras, it is interesting that anyone that is caught would even try to fight it. I have had some get angry when I slow down in anticipation of a red light. The usual gestures, I wave back and smile. I say great on these cameras. Regardless of what the cons of these may be, the people that complain are usually the ones that are the reckless driver that is taking chances with everyone's life while operating a motor vehicle.

Papakilo - 11/19/2013 11:34 PM
0 Votes
If all the Caution lights are illuminated for the same reasonable length of time (should be a State determined time) to standardize all traffic lights ‘red light camera’ are saving lives and accidents, and penalizing those who run red lights. The judge having video evidence of each violation, makes it extremely difficult for the ticket to be overturned. I have witnessed too many “red light runners” having near misses and causing accidents at many intersections where they are currently located. I have been fortunate at not being involved at those places but, I am always extra cautious when approaching those areas. The cameras don’t bother me at all. I have only been involved in one accident in my over 30 years of driving. I was hit in the rear, while in the drive-thru lane in McDonalds parking lot, by a driver who was not paying attention and was going too fast when he pulled into McDonalds drive-thru lane and did not slow down or stop. According to the police report he was talking to his passengers and not watching where he was going. I am sure the police department could use the revenue BUT, I want to see the accidents stop at all intersections. If safety is increased, then the cameras are doing their job. I would like to see more drivers ticketed for using cell phones and texting, and all buses ticketed for speeding in 30 mph speed zones. If folks can’t stop speeding on small streets of stop for traffic lights, THEY don’t need their drivers license.

wot90s - 11/19/2013 11:33 PM
0 Votes
Lets hope the judge will not let anyone off when caught running a red light. I have a valid reason for hoping this. I was hit by a red light runner. Unfortunately, that light didnt have a camera. I am one of the blessed ones, who lived, to tell the tale of the red light runner. I was waiting on light at the Hwy 17 and Milwaukee, after leaving the Compass bank. I had planned on going to take care of my 2 grandchildren, ages 1 1/2 and 4. If I had decided to go back home, I would have gone straight across the intersection, instead of turning right. That reason alone, is the only reason I am alive to tell this. I told the driver who finally decided to stop, just exactly what I thought of her and her driving. She was stupid, and I hated red light runners. And I do. You are taking my life, and my families life away when you decide you cant wait 30 seconds, or even 2 minutes at KIngsley and 17, but you know, my life is a whole lot more valuable than that length of time. I will send this comment to every judge in Clay and Duval county, asking that the fine be 500 dollars, and if it is a proven fact that the red light runner is guilty, then take the drivers license away, and their vehicle. If you kill me, what is my family and my grandchildren left with. or for that matter without. A hell of a lot more than a vehicle, and a license. So, Judges, take care of us drivers who have enough respect for other drivers, and their lives, and their families lives. Fine them, take their means of transportation away, and let them pay the bills and the financial burdens of what I would have given my family. Thank you if you decide to start taking care of the people who have that respect, and if you don't then you don't need to be a Judge. Fran Jones
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