We've all had that moment when we receive some mail from the county, open it up, and see a photograph of our vehicle. The ticket says we owe some arbitrary extravagant amount of money for running a red light. We proceed to punch things. But now, thanks to rulings by two Broward judges on Monday, we could be seeing the beginning of the end of red-light-camera tickets in South Florida.
The judges tossed more than 24,000 red-light tickets totaling $6.3 million on Monday after they ruled that the red-light camera program violates Florida law. These specific cases had been waiting to be ruled on for over a year.
For the past four years, the City of Fort Lauderdale has had a contract with Arizona-based American Traffic Solutions, a company that calls itself "the largest provider of road safety camera programs to America’s largest cities." Opponents argued that the company was reviewing video of cars apparently running red light and then sending them to the cops throughout South Florida, who then proceed to send out tickets to supposed violators.
But the judges ruled that this is a violation of state law.
"Based upon testimony and evidence presented, this Court finds that the procedures used by the city of Fort Lauderdale in accordance with its contract with American Traffic Solutions violate the requirements of F.S. 316.0083 in that the city's representative does not actually create or issue the Uniform Traffic Citation," part of the ruling reads.
The state says only law enforcement can issue violations.
The ruling could mean that red-light-camera tickets could be history in South Florida, particularly if opponents continue to push the narrative that Broward County can't enforce laws by breaking them.
Reached for comment over what Fort Lauderdale intends to do with this, City Manager Lee Feldman said city leaders will be discussing the issue as early as Tuesday afternoon.
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"This matter will be discussed at the City Commission Conference meeting this afternoon," Feldman told New Times in an email.
The meeting is scheduled for 1:30 p.m.
Other South Florida cities such as Hollywood have already ended or suspended red-light-camera programs. Fort Lauderdale suspended the program back on March 6 after a judge ruled it violated state law. Aventura and Boynton Beach have hearings scheduled to address the issue.