This won’t be the last time a bunch of elected officials are tricked into believing that there is a magic bullet to their problems. Their problems were that they needed money and figured by installing red light cameras they could make money and decrease accidents. Like so many endeavors, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. The problem is that not many people think our legislators actually had good intentions. They were lobbied to death my private for profit companies that said what they wanted to here. “You will make money for your cities and you will save lives.” Sounds good to me. But the fact is that no lives are being saved by red light camera tickets. Fact is that the cities are making money, but not as much as promised. The fact is that red light camera tickets are just a tax that the working class people of South Florida can’t afford to pay.
LETS FOLLOW THE MONEY
The problem lies in the money. To quote Deep Throat, follow the money. Lets start with a basic red light camera traffic ticket. If you just pay the notice of violation, you will pay $158. About half of that goes to the red light camera vendor, like ATS (American Traffic Solutions). That leaves around $75 left for the city to pocket. In some cities, they are making out great. For example, the city of Miami last year collected $5,800,000 in red light camera ticket fines. They paid ATS around $2,200,000. That left about $3,600,000 for the City of Miami. Not bad for a days work. Contrast that with the City of Pembroke Pines. They collected about $991,000 in fines and had to pay ATS $971,000 leaving around $20,000 for the City of Pembroke Pines. Not a great deal for the City. Not to mention the city had to provide an officer to come to court and testify when we challenge the red light camera ticket. Thus, a city like Pembroke Pines will actually lose money. Since ATS is not going anywhere, what can they do to help the cities like Pembroke Pines make more money?
Let’s change the law so everyone profits. Sounds good for the private companies. Sounds good for the legislators. How can we make it sound good to the public? I know, lets set up a system IN THE CITY where the people got the red light camera traffic ticket where the victims of red light tickets can fight there tickets. This way we don’t have to deal with lawyers, and the constitution, we can make our own rules. And if they loose there fight, we can charge hundreds of dollars more. Perfect! That is exactly what they did. Now if you want to fight your red light camera within the first 60 days, you will go before a city clerk to fight the ticket. If you loose, you will pay $250 more than the $158. Oh, and here is the one thing you probably won’t believe, but it is true. That city clerk who is sitting as a judge on your red light ticket case, guess who pays him? Yup, the city who gets the money he collects. Thus, if he throws out a red light ticket, he is taking money from his boss. He is taking the money that pays his salary and throwing it out. I will bet right now that there is over a 90% guilty rate in every city.
But why would the legislators agree to such an absurd policy? One that the people (once they understand it) will not like. Lots and lots of money. What do you think ATS and their ilk do with the millions of dollars we give them in the form of ticket money. They grease the politicians with loads of donations and they politicians sell their souls. Not unlike Washington, but this one is so obvious. The one bit of good news is that you have one other option. Do not pay your red light camera traffic ticket. Wait over 60 days and it becomes a regular traffic ticket (Uniform Traffic Citation). Then we can fight it in a real courtroom with a real impartial judge. We can use the rules of evidence to try and have your red light ticket dismissed. Call us anytime if you want an experienced traffic ticket lawyer to fight your red light ticket.