No one likes getting a traffic citation, especially State Rep. Andy Holt. The Tennessee lawmaker is making news this week because he was seen burning a speeding ticket on a video which has been seen over 400,000 times on Facebook. As reported by News Channel 5, Holt said the following words as he set the traffic ticket on fire.
“My suggestion is this right here,” Holt can be heard saying as he sets the ticket on fire with a lighter. “That’s what I think about these items, and I think that everyone should do when you receive one.”
— The Tennessean (@Tennessean) May 27, 2016
Holt, who sought to outlaw all speed and red light cameras in the State of Tennessee in the 2015 legislative session, is urging his fellow citizens to burn their traffic tickets because he says the companies in charge of the cameras only want your money.
“One of the biggest holes we found is that the cities using these cameras are violating state law in a major way,” Holt wrote on his site. “The second hole is how cities and companies are purposefully deceiving and manipulating people into paying cameras citations through false legal and financial threats.”
However, Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch does not share Holt’s views on burning traffic tickets and he says that the state representative is not offering sound advice.
“No one likes to be caught violating traffic offenses, regardless of how they are caught, but they have a legal obligation to properly address it. Burning a citation or throwing it away is an emotional response that may feel good, but it does not make the violation and accountability go away,” Rausch said.
According to Holt, research from the University of Tennessee showed the cameras are used to generate revenue. University of Tennessee researchers said municipalities purposefully remove state-sanctioned signs warning drivers about the cameras (required by law), shorten yellow light times, and increase speed limits just before the location of cameras in order to increase the likelihood of receiving a ticket.
A report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety revealed that 22 percent of all traffic accidents in the United States are caused by drivers running red lights. Every year, these accidents kill some 800 people and rack up an estimated $7 billion dollars in property damage, medical bills, lost productivity, and insurance hikes. And this sort of traffic violation seems to be on the rise. In many areas, red-light violations have increased by 10 percent or more since the 1980s. This is why — the report says — a growing number of cities are installing more and more red-light cameras.
— Buddy Crass (@BuddyCrass) May 26, 2016
But Holt insists that traffic cameras do more harm than good and they are installed mainly to bring in revenue from the taxpayer. Holt and state Sen. Paul Bailey have recently joined forces in sponsoring a bill, HB2510, that requires all citations resulting from a traffic camera video to include the following notice.
“Nonpayment of this (citation) cannot adversely affect your credit score or report, driver’s license, and/or automobile insurance rates.”
The bill passed unanimously in the Senate and by a 92-2 vote in the House. It took effect when signed by Gov. Bill Haslam on April 27.
Holt says that although a traffic camera ticket comes in an “official letter” from the city, it’s actually not the city. It’s RedFlex or ATS using the city’s letterhead, he explained. He also says that if you call any of the numbers on the “citation,” you would get an operator in Arizona or somewhere half way around the world.
[Photo by Dan Kitwood / Getty Images]