Fighting Red Light Cameras

As state and local governments struggle to keep up with their reckless spending in this economic downturn, more and more cities are installing red light camera to fine motorists and help bridge the revenue gap in their budgets. It seems like these things are everywhere now, which makes me love this story of how a couple in Florida fought the city over one of these tickets and won. How did they do it? By confirming that the cycle for the yellow light had been set too short according to county guidelines. The husband simply went out the the light where the ticket was issued with a stopwatch and timed the yellow light cycle to find in 15 instances the average cycle for the yellow was 3.8 seconds compared to 4.5 seconds required by law. He was able to get the county to concede the cycle was too short and the ticket was dismissed. How widespread is the issue? This fellow checked a total of 65 intersections in the area and found only 7 lights that meet the requirement.

Not specifically personal finance related, but I thought it was an interesting story to pass along.

2 comments to Fighting Red Light Cameras

  • Save $500.

    For those who live in California, or might visit, here is a special note about California camera tickets. (As in many fields of endeavor, we do it differently. Not better, just differently.)

    Here they cost about $500! And a point on your license. Because our tickets put a point on your license, the police have to get the name of the actual driver before they can file the ticket at court. Since the photo of the plates leads only to the registered owner (“RO”), and he/she often was not the person driving the car, about 40 California police depts. mail out Snitch Tickets, which are fake/phishing red light camera tickets sent out to bluff the RO into ID’ing the actual driver of the car. Snitch Tickets haven’t been filed with the court, so are recognizable because they don’t say “Notice to Appear,” don’t have the court’s address, and say (on the back, in small letters), “Do not contact the court.” Since they have NOT been filed with the court, they have no legal weight. You can ignore a Snitch Ticket. If in doubt, Google the term.

  • definitely fight those type of tickets!

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