Florida Judges Reject Challenges to Red-Light Safety Camera Law

Sarasota, FL –The latest legal challenges to red-light safety cameras in Florida have been rejected by county judges in both Sarasota and Polk counties. Recent rulings in two separate cases upheld the constitutionality of the state’s red-light camera law each finding that the statute meets the requirements for due process and allows authorities to ticket the vehicle owner, regardless of who was driving the vehicle at the time of the violation.

In a Aug. 30th order denying a motion to dismiss a red-light running ticket, Sarasota County Court Judge Kimberly Bonner, of the 12th Judicial Circuit, affirmed that Florida’s Mark Wandall Traffic Safety Act, authorizes police to issue red-light running tickets to vehicle owners, and that the identification of the driver isn’t necessary for the citation to be issued.

“The one who may be held responsible for the vehicle violating a red light is the owner or one in custody of the vehicle. The owner or one in custody of the vehicle may not have been the driver. Therefore, determining the identity of the driver is not necessary when a violation is issued pursuant to Florida statute,” Judge Bonner wrote.

Judge Bonner also found that the statute does not shift the burden of proof to the Defendant, and does not violate due process in that it does not automatically deem the Defendant guilty upon issuance of the notice of violation or the issuance of the citation.

In an August 17th ruling, Polk County Judge Timothy Coon, of the 10th Judicial Circuit Court, rebuffed eight separate challenges against the Wandall Act, finding that the claims were either groundless or failed to meet the burden of proof required by law. Amongst the Wandall Act’s provisions upheld by Judge Coon was its compliance with due process requirements, and the allowance of fines for red-light runners without assessing points against the driver’s license.

In the same ruling Judge Coon found the contract between ATS and the city of Haines to be legal and its provisions for fixed costs and flexible payment schedules to be helpful to cities because it is free of any pressure to raise revenues. “This is a very positive result of the flexible plan, and also helps in keeping those cameras in place to protect the public from the danger of death or injuries from red light cameras,” the judge wrote.

George Hittner, vice president and general counsel for ATS, said, “These rulings are consistent with previous decisions from across the state.  Both further validate the Mark Wandall Traffic Safety Act, which continues to provide communities with an unprecedented opportunity to enhance road safety.”

About American Traffic Solutions:

ATS is proud to be the market leader in road safety camera installations in North America. ATS has more than 3,000 installed red-light and speed safety cameras serving more than 30 million people. ATS is the largest road safety camera program service provider in North America with awards or contracts with nearly 300 local jurisdictions in 21 states and Washington, D.C. ATS Currently operates more than 70 red-light safety camera programs in Florida including, Orlando, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Sarasota, Tampa, St. Petersburg and more. For more information, please visit us online at dev.www.atsol.com.

August 31st, 2012|