As the light turns yellow many drivers approaching intersections scan for pedestrians, other cars and police officers before making a split-second determination of whether to risk running a red light, or slam on their brakes. Sometimes the split-second decision of whether or not to run a yellow light is a difficult call to make and depends greatly on circumstances, such as the proximity of the car behind the driver, the amount of traffic in the intersection and whether or not a police officer is near to issue a ticket. The introduction of red light cameras may cause the scan for police officers to shift into a scan for cameras in the intersection. A driver crossing the white line on their side of the intersection once the light has turned red activates a red light camera to flash and capture video and photo evidence of the possible violation. The red light camera then sends information to a law enforcement official that reviews what the camera has gathered to determine whether a violation has occurred. If the law enforcement officer has determined that a violation has occurred then a citation is issued to the registered owner of the vehicle and if they pay the fine on time no points will be added to their license.
Controversial opinions exist regarding the issue of red light cameras and recently a case made its way to the Florida Supreme Court questioning the validity of tickets issued based on evidence from red light cameras. Hollywood, Florida recently appealed a case to the Florida Supreme Court, where the lower court judge ruled that their red light cameras were in violation of Florida law. The city of Hollywood appealed their case to the Florida Supreme Court. The Florida Supreme Court denied hearing the appeal, communicating that they agree with the lower court’s decision. What does this mean for the citizens of Hollywood with red light tickets? The city is approving all appeals made and attempting to create a red light camera system with less outsourcing to ensure the cameras comply with Florida law that states that only a law enforcement officer may issue a traffic citation (Sun Sentinel).
Many opponents argue that red light cameras deny citizens the right to face their accuser, which in this case is a camera rather than a trained officer of the law. Additionally, some question the intentions behind the red light cameras; they add a significant amount of revenue to cities from the tickets paid and opponents of these cameras question whether the cities have citizen’s safety or deepening their own pockets in mind. It is estimated that in 2014 Cocoa Beach collected $1,118,336 from tickets issued by red light cameras and once various costs were subtracted the city earned a net income of $249,661 from these cameras. Commissioner Tim Tumulty was quoted by the Florida Today stating “It turns out it (red light cameras) was a money thing and it hasn’t benefitted our citizens in any way in safety” (Florida Today).
If you have received a ticket from a red light camera the attorneys at Platt Hopwood are here to fight for your justice. Contact our firm today with your unique situation and we will use our legal expertise and passion for the law to right the wrong. Contact our office today at (321) 725-5638 to schedule your free consultation.