Many Red Light Camera Programs Don’t Follow The Law
The upcoming Nov/Dec 2009 issue of Driving Freedoms will include a story about three California communities that have skirted state law while operating their photo enforcement programs. Many local jurisdictions around the country, not just in California, have been ignoring the law at the expense (literally) of thousands of motorists.
This is not news to you if you’ve been following the NMA for very long. Cities have been caught shortening yellow light cycles below acceptable minimum times on their traffic signals, traffic court defendants have been refused their right to discoverable materials . . . the list goes on.
Essentially, these program administrators are breaking the rules set up to protect drivers, but continue to do so because so few people actually challenge the tickets, and because the revenue rewards are so great. Most of you are NMA members, so we are likely preaching to the choir, but constant exposure of abuses by traffic law enforcement and prosecution is needed to convince more motorists of something extremely important: being a good citizen often means challenging the justice system to help establish a level playing field for everyone involved.
The Orange County Register (there’s California again) published a Letter to the Editor in late August from Michael Jennings, an Irvine man who did fight for his rights regarding a red-light camera ticket he received in Santa Ana. (By the way, Santa Ana is not among the three CA ticket camera programs covered in the soon-to-be-released Driving Freedoms.) Mr. Jennings clearly took umbrage with the ticket, and in the course of contesting (and winning) his battle against the city of Santa Ana, he found abuses in how that photo enforcement program was administered.
If you know of a family member or friend feeling complacent about fighting for their rights in traffic court, consider sharing Michael Jennings’ letter to the editor of the Orange County Register with them.
It is also worth reading as a refresher now and then on how several photo enforcement programs are run.