Have you recently become a victim of the red light camera scam? If so, you are not alone, as nearly every U.S. state has some type of Red-Light Camera (RLC) system, excluding Alaska, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
The odds of getting a red light camera citation is extremely high in all the participating states. Citations can range anywhere from $50 to $500, depending on state laws. Along with monetary penalties, some states will add additional penalties, such as driver’s license points.
Most states want motorists to believe their RLC systems are to deter red-light running. While this may be the case, these systems pump millions into the participating states’ budgets each year.
No One Wants To Be Accountable Or Associated With RLC Systems
RLC systems have drawn so much negative criticism over the years no government entity wants to be part of them. One example, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) denies having any connection with RLC systems. According to the Department of Transportation’s website, FHWA “does not own, operate, regulate, or oversee RLC systems.” However, the agency does validate a need for these systems at signalized intersections with traffic fatality history.
According to FHWA, 36,460 traffic fatalities were reported statewide in 2018. Of these fatalities, 846 involved red-light-running at signalized intersections. Fifty-three of these fatalities involved pedestrians and bicycles.
Redflex Traffic Systems
Australian-based Redflex Traffic Systems oversees thousands of speed and red-light cameras in the United States and Australia. The company has a long history of fraud and corruption. In 2014, Karen Finley, former Redflex CEO and vice president of operations was indicted on federal corruption charges. The indictment alleged Finley gave then Chicago transportation official John Bills $570,000 for confidential information to help the company expand its operation in Chicago.
The company’s contracts with the state of Chicago were valued at $124 million in 2014.
Participating states’ officials are not forthcoming about where the revenue generated from its RLC systems. Texas officials claim a portion of the revenue goes to trauma centers. In September 2018, Sioux City Mayor Bob Scott said Iowa allocated nearly $2 million a year to “public safety.”
Should You Pay Your Red Light Camera Ticket?
Officials want you to know a red light camera ticket is your responsibility. You have the option of paying or not paying. You must decide which option is in your best interest. However, this option is not open to every victim. Some states try to force motorists to pay their RLC tickets by threatening them with additional penalties. Tennessee lawmakers have gone as far as to impose late fees on unpaid RLC tickets.
In most states, RLC tickets are non-moving violations, which do not pose the threat of an arrest. This doesn’t necessarily mean the ticket will not come back to haunt you in the future. Some victims have reported resurfacing of their tickets after receiving a moving violation, even though it was years later. In these cases, victims will have the option of paying their moving violations, along with their previous RLC tickets to avoid jail time.
So, people, they have you over the barrel.