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Red Light Camera Tickets Generate Millions

Red light camera tickets are a pain for all drivers (but we can help if you get a ticket), however, they are boon to not only the government entities that collect the fines but to the private companies that operate the cameras as well. The amount of money that is generated by red light camera tickets is eye popping as the Houston Chronicle reports that the city of Houston has received more than $50 million in civil fines since the cameras began operation in 2006. While at first this may appear to be a good thing as the city now has more money to provide services, it is money that is coming out of the pocket of everyday people. MSNBC reports that the average fine in Los Angeles - where the city's police commission recently voted to end its red light camera ticket program - is $446. In addition, the agreements that these cities have with the companies that run the cameras, like American Traffic Solutions Inc., are worth millions of dollars. In fact, the city of Houston had a referendum where its citizens voted to end its red light camera program this past November. However, the city's contract with American Traffic Solutions required Houston to either turn the cameras back on (and ignore the will of the people) or pay $20 million in damages to the private company. "The City just went through a very painful budget process in which nearly 750 employees were laid off and park, library and health services were cut back," Houston Mayor Annise Parker said, reports KTRK, an ABC affiliate. "We simply don't have the millions they claim we would owe for violating the court decision and our contractual obligation to [American Traffic Solutions]. Therefore, I have decided the fiscally-prudent path to take is to turn the cameras back on while also seeking a second chance for the voters in the courts." American Traffic Solutions isn't the only private company raking in tens of thousands of dollars from city's across the U.S. The Ventura County Star reports that Redflex Traffic Systems collects $30,500 each month from the city of Oxnard. According to the Dayton Daily News, the city of Dayton, Ohio, has had difficulty trying to get its drivers to pay fines issued by red light cameras. Motorists reportedly owe $3.89 million in unpaid tickets over the past eight years.
Jul 21st, 2011