For those living in the state of Florida, traffic cameras are these days very common. It is quite embarrassing to open one’s mail just to find a traffic violation fine that needs to be paid, along with a picture of their jalopy blazing twenty over the speed limit just to beat the light. As of Thursday, traffic cameras are about to take a dive in their numbers, primarily those installed before the year 2010.
In a report by NBC News 4, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that traffic cameras, the ones installed before the year 2010, are now illegal. The reason why these cameras are on the chopping block is because they weren’t approved by the state at that time. According to the Supreme Court, traffic cameras were approved in 2010, and any city that installed them prior to their approval have done so illegally. It should be noted that only cities and towns who installed traffic cameras prior to their approval are effected, which includes Aventura and Orlando.
The Florida Supreme Court took the case because of the conflicting opinions in the two appeals courts, one in Orlando and the other in Aventura, which is near Miami. The 5th District Court of Appeal in Daytona Beach said Orlando’s camera ordinance conflicted with state traffic laws. The District Court of Appeal in Miami, however, upheld the fines collected in Aventura before the new law was passed.
In another report by Newsmax, it is stated that the ruling on traffic cameras being illegal does not include a refund on fines collected, ergo the dispute is expected to continue. A lawyer representing drivers in the case has stated that millions of dollars of fines should be returned. However, the question is not if it should be returned, but how? Does the state even have enough to return millions of dollars that aren’t going to any type of improvement? If not, then the money may have to come from taxpayers, and they probably won’t like that, either. Also, there are just plenty of loopholes that can be taken. Dave Kerner had this to say about the traffic camera fines:
“There are other legal maneuvers that the cities can use to try to delay the ultimate result, which will be the recovery of millions of dollars for drivers. The monies they collected, they collected unlawfully.”
The city of Orlando has a different view on the matter. Mayanne Downs, a lawyer, said fines would only be returned to those who disputed their traffic camera tickets. Those who paid willfully will not receive the same service. The estimation of what Orlando has to pay back is about $100,000.
To be fair, this article is not meant to insult the use of traffic cameras. In general, it is a tool to help enforce the law and provide safety for drivers, especially in Orlando where driving can be extremely frightening. Just here on The Inquisitr, we reported how traffic cameras could be used for good like in Ohio, they now use them to assist traffic violations. We even reported how cities, which unfortunately centers on Florida again, would shorten yellow lights at intersections with traffic cameras. Then we also have a traffic camera epic fail that gave a traffic citation… to a motionless car. Still, the traffic cameras simply comes down to responsibility and integrity, not just by the city, but the driver too.
[Images via Bing]