Florida Red Light Camera Law Doesn't Care Who's Driving: Car Owner Fined

from the as-long-as-the-city-gets-paid,-who-cares? dept

There are an awful lot of problems with red light cameras — starting with the fact that they don’t actually decrease accidents or make the roads any safer. Most evidence suggests the only thing they’re really good for is increasing the revenue for a city — which is why a bunch of cities have broken the laws over the years and shortened the length of the yellow light to “catch” more red light runners — while also actively ignoring any actual data around the cameras. Reader Gabriel Tane points us to a newly proposed law in Florida for red light cameras that, on top of everything else, would automatically fine the owner of the car even if he or she wasn’t driving. It’s difficult to see how this is reasonable… unless of course this law has nothing to do with making drivers safer, and is, instead, a way to raise extra money for a city.

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Comments on “Florida Red Light Camera Law Doesn't Care Who's Driving: Car Owner Fined”

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hegemon13 says:

Re: Re: Re:

You don’t see how? How about due process? Since when is the owner of a vehicle responsible with what someone else does with it? Plus, our cars are titled to both me and my wife. Would we both get a ticket? What about a one-car family, where the vehicle is titled to one spouse, but they both drive it?

This would be the only exception I know to the general rule that the criminal is the person committing the crime. Never, that I know of, has owning property made a person criminally liable for what someone else does with it. What if we extended this to houses? Should we arrest landlords when a tenant builds a meth lab in the basement of their rental property?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

You, as the owner of the car, are the insured responsible party for the use of the car (if it was stolen, fight the ticket with a stolen car police report).

In Maryland, the owner of the vehicle is fined, HOWEVER not given any points on their license. It’s not a matter of “due process” because the fact is that the car was caught speeding and the owner is financially responsible without legal consequences to their reckless driving.

And yes, if someone (even a door-to-door salesman you haven’t invited) slips on a step on your doorway, they are your liability.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

so in Maryland if you are pulled over for speeding in a car you borrowed then the person who loaned you the car gets the ticket?

How does that make any sense?

when you own a piece of land you are expected to maintain them, just like checking the air pressure of your tires, but if someone threw a party on your front lawn while you were on vacation they would get fined for the noise violations, not the home-owner.

Pixelpusher220 says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

In Maryland, where speed cameras photograph speeders, the ticket is sent to the owner of the vehicle.

You are more than welcome to ‘fight’ the ticket with proof of who you lent *your* car to. Moral of the story don’t lend your vehicle out to anyone you don’t trust to take responsibility.

BTR1701 says:

Re: Re: Re: Legality

> Since when is the owner of a vehicle
> responsible with what someone else does
> with it?

Since forever.

Have you not noticed that if you lend your car to someone and they park it at a meter and get a ticket, you’re responsible for the ticket even though you weren’t driving? It’s been that way for decades and the government is just porting this concept over to other traffic violations.

Granted, the state has to decriminalize the offense of running a red light in order to hold the car owner vicariously liable but that’s happening all over these days. Nothing unique about it.

Used to be, running a red light was criminal offense. If a cop caught you and gave you a ticket for it, and you failed to pay the fine or show up in court, the judge could issue a bench warrant for your arrest and the cops could actually lead you away in handcuffs and put you in jail when they found you. Your license could also be suspended for it.

With a criminal offense, per the Constitution, the state has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you and you alone committed the offense in question. However, with a civil administrative non-criminal fine, no such constitutional protections exist. Just like that parking ticket, you can be held liable civilly for what is done with your vehicle even if you are not present.

The trade-off is that the state has to decrminalize things like running red lights, which means if you fail to pay the fine and/or show up in court, they can no longer issue warrants for your arrest, nor can they suspend your driver’s license (or put points on it) for the offense. All they can do is assess a fine and send it to a debt collection agency if you don’t pay– which will blacken your credit rating. They can also refuse to renew your license and registration when it expires until you pay the debt.

But for all those screaming “This is unconstitutional!”, think again. It’s not.

Bobby McDoogle says:

We can do this, if we all put it together.

We my grandkids bought me this computer and it is still fun to read the onlines. I live in Florida and everyone I know does not run pass the red lights not because there are people taking pictures but because you can get in an accident. It is about safetly friends, not about if we make money selling the pictures with the car owners. I really like this website, but my grandkids are trying to block me out of it, or insist I dont leave messages.

Thanks you.

BTR1701 says:

Re: I got the perfect idea!!

> You go down and rent a car, run every red
> light in the city, and by the time the rental
> company gets the ticket in the mail, you’re
> back home.

And then the rental company sends you a notice of all the fines that are due and tells you that if you don’t pay, they’ll charge the full amount to the credit card they have on file for you, per the rental agreement you signed.

Sure, you could cancel the card, but then they’ll just turn the debt over to a collection agency, which will ruin your credit rating.

Pixelpusher220 says:

Re: Re:

‘without’ evidence? well except for the nice photograph showing your vehicle going through the red light.

It is YOUR vehicle, take responsibility for what is done with it.

There are really only three cases here:

1. YOU are driving and deserve the ticket
2. YOU lent it to someone and THEY deserve the ticket.
3. it was STOLEN and obviously you shouldn’t be liable.

case 2 & 3 are the same thing. Someone else was operating the vehicle. In the last case, without your knowledge or approval. Simply provide your police report and they will rescind your fine.

Case #2, just let them know who *was* driving your vehicle. If the person won’t accept the responsibility, I suggest you don’t loan your car to them anymore.

If you don’t want the responsibility, don’t own a car or don’t lend it to anyone…problem solved.

Anonymous Coward says:

No improvements in safety? Really?

This well-referenced article from January 2009 seems to be saying that your statements above regarding safety are in error.


The article certainly appears to be saying that the increase in rear-end accidents is more than offset by the reduction in right angle crashes, which tends to cause greater damage and more injuries. The article even has estimated dollar savings.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: No improvements in safety? Really?

Just who does the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shill for? Are you also saying that the journals American Journal of Public Health and Traffic Injury Prevention, the Federal Highway Administration, and the Great Britain based Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, all cited in the article, are industry shills as well?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: No improvements in safety? Really?

They may cherry pick their statistics, but at least they choose from an array of journals (American Journal of Public Health, Traffic Injury Prevention) and at least one study supported by the Federal Highway Administration, and one foreign study in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. The fact that they find consistent support for their position that the number and severity of injuries are reduced with red light cameras is more compelling than a simple assertion of cherry picking. It is true that the study had nothing to do with shortening of yellow lights, but neither does yellow mean speed up as fast as possible to get through the intersection before the light turns red.

Top Jimmy says:

Re: No improvements in safety? Really?

IIHS is a political lobby (among other things) funded by insurance companies that would like to … you guessed it, raise your insurance rates based on civil infractions such as speeding past automated speed cameras and running red lights, not to mention raise rates based on their own crash tests that show how dangerous cars can be. They exist to line the coffers of the insurance companies, not to protect us.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: No improvements in safety? Really?

Is Battelle Memorial Institute another insurance industry shill? They found that red light cameras were beneficial.


I also wonder whether the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center is yet another insurance industry shill. They too found that red light cameras were a net benefit.


It appears that the insurance industry shills have infiltrated Wikipedia, because the studies they cite (at least one of which is above) also point out the benefits of the cameras.


Insurance industry shills are obviously everywhere…

Ryan says:

Re: Re: Re: No improvements in safety? Really?

First of all, only the IIHS was accused of being an industry shill; yet, you mock our arguments by suggesting it is a conspiracy theory because all of the other references “must be industry shills” even though that accusation was not made. Feel free to leave out logical fallacies from your posts.

Second, I am guessing you looked at the IIHS references for those that you just added. The link to the FHWA study was one of the only references on the original IIHS page actually regarding the effectiveness of red-light cameras in increasing safety. The second link is an executive summary of the first study, thus being completely redundant. Now, you don’t have to actually read everything you reference, but the fact that they are hosted on the same site should have tipped you off…maybe?

So…you have the FHWA study that was already referenced in your IIHS link to add to the discussion.


For example, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) study of accident reductions in Oxnard, California did not actually examine accidents at camera intersections. Instead, it compared citywide crash rates between intersections with signals and intersections without signals. Likewise, the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) 2005 study of cameras did not compare the accident rate before cameras were installed to the rate afterward. Instead, it estimated expected crashes in the after period by comparing intersections with cameras to intersections without.

FHWA also selectively excluded certain cities from its analysis, including Greensboro, North Carolina and cities in Virginia, which experienced a significant increase in injuries and accidents according to other studies. The report also selectively excluded the reporting of certain data to ensure independent researchers would be unable to challenge or verify the study’s conclusion. The federal agency went to far in its secrecy as to refuse a Freedom of Information Act request for a set of its results listed by location. The National Motorists Association had made the request intending to verify the particular conditions at the intersections studied.

The researchers suggested that the IIHS and FHWA studies were tainted by financial conflicts of interest. The insurance industry directly funds IIHS. And, although the FHWA study was sponsored by the US Department of Transportation, study co-director Bhagwant Persaud has accepted significant payment from IIHS for his past research. Orban explained that the insurance industry not only makes money from traffic tickets that carry license demerit points, but it also makes greater profit when the number of accidents increases.

“Higher crash rates suggest higher risk; justifying higher premiums and profits,” the report stated. “Due to the pricing methods used, automobile insurers do not have a financial incentive to lower crash rates or perceptions of risk.”

This is an actual study of whether red light cameras would be effective in Florida, relevant to the task at hand. Unsurprisingly, they suggest “no”.

In the IIHS study, researchers compared Oxnard,
California, which installed cameras, with three towns
that did not. The first criticism of this study’s design
is that camera intersections were not separately
analyzed. Instead, crash and injury counts at
Oxnard’s 11 camera intersections were added with all
125 signalized intersections in Oxnard (Retting &
Kyrychenko, 2002). Thus, the study actually
compared differences in crash and injury growth rates
between intersections with and without traffic
signals, and not between signalized intersections with
and without cameras. A further criticism of this study
is that the conclusions drawn from the statistical
analysis were incorrectly reported. When the results
were correctly analyzed for statistical significance, no
change in total crashes could be substantiated
(Burkey & Obeng, 2004; Kyrychenko & Retting,
The FHWA study (Council, Persaud, Eccles, Lyon
and Griffith, 2005) evaluated seven jurisdictions in
multiple states. The analysis concluded cameras were
associated with decreased angle crashes and injures.
The university professor who co-directed this study
and provided the methodological ideas has also
conducted research for the IIHS (Persaud, 2007;
Persaud, Retting & Lord, 2001; Persaud, Hauer,
Retting, Vallurupalli & Mucsi, 1997). The research
design and reporting concerns are as follows.
• The researchers listed 15 geographic areas
with camera programs. However, only seven
areas were selected for the analysis because
the researchers concluded “significant
effects are likely for all crash severities” in
these jurisdictions. The decision to
selectively (non-randomly) choose among
the 15 areas increases the chance of
incorrectly favoring one conclusion over
another (camera effectiveness or
ineffectiveness). Three areas excluded by
the researchers were included in the major
studies from Virginia and Greensboro, North
Carolina, which did not find reductions in
angle crashes.
The researchers called this a “before-andafter”
study, yet it appears they did not
compare crashes and injuries at intersections
before and after cameras were installed.
They did not report using the before period
data in estimating expected crashes for the
after period. Instead, the study made
estimates of expected crashes and injuries
for the period after cameras were installed
using non-camera intersections. Also, counts
of crashes and injuries from the before
period were not reported in the results.
• In estimating crashes for the period after
cameras were installed, the analysis
excluded important factors that are known to
affect intersection crashes. Changes
attributed to cameras could actually occur
from these excluded factors, such as
differences in yellow light timings and speed
• Although the Methods section identified six
types of crashes (for example, red light
running crashes), findings were reported for
only angle and rear end crashes. Changes in
crashes and injuries for the other types,
including red light running crashes, and
changes in total crashes and injuries were
not revealed. This also renders the economic
analysis incomplete since it did not include
changes in total crashes and injuries.
• Instead of reporting the full results of the
statistical analyses, only an example with
made-up numbers was provided.
• Crash and injury counts were not reported
by intersection or jurisdiction. As such, it is
unknown where the favorable experiences
attributed to cameras actually occurred.
Correct reporting of research findings
requires providing sufficient detail to allow
other researchers to validate conclusions. It
is impossible to replicate this study or to reanalyze
the findings.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 No improvements in safety? Really?

Any mocking you found was from your own brain. I asked a question as to whether all the people who found that the cameras were useful were shills. Instead, you respond with people who have axes to grind with monitoring and who are generally anti-government. The way I see it, whether cameras are a net advantage is unclear because there are clearly spin doctors on both sides.

Ryan says:

Re: Re: Re:3 No improvements in safety? Really?

You asked that question rhetorically, since your sole argument in response to the original attacks on IIHS’s credibility and study integrity seems to be that not everybody in favor of red light cameras could be on the take. However, this argument was not generalized beyond IIHS, so it made no point to repeatedly ask, “Is THIS organization a shill? Is THAT organization a shill?…”

I also point out that I provided links to multiple sources that laid out exactly why your two sources (that you attempted to portray as more than two by duplicating them and citing an inconclusive wikipedia excerpt to boot) used faulty studies. In response, you called my sources (that argued logically) biased while providing no evidence whatsoever, and completely failed to answer the original questions of the credibility of your two “studies”.

Additionally, another user made comments as to the conflict of interest of sources you cited that actually were citing other sources of yours themselves, and you did not respond to these either. You did not even specify how these “people” are biased with “axes to grind with monitoring and who are generally anti-government”. One of them (USF) is a government entity itself, and I would love to hear you explain how Car and Driver either “has an axe to grind with monitoring” or is “generally anti-government”.

The Grassy Knoll says:

Re: Re: Re: No improvements in safety? Really?

#1 The Battelle Memorial Institute has a major stake in Nat’l Security, so they would automatically be in favor of promoting any precedent that encouraged the over-survelliance of American society, hence they are pro cameras on every corner.

#2Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center is a federally owned and operated entity. As such, not only are they influenced by the insurance lobbyists, but they are also part of the federal/state system that is making money off of this operation.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 No improvements in safety? Really?

I was once employed by the feds. I can guarantee you that my reports were not only not tainted by outside contractors, but I was frequently at odds with them. Also, the feds do not make money off tickets from states. So, you are saying that the second source is in fact independent. Thanks!

I am struggling with your logic on the first one. Since Battelle is not involved in the actual monitoring, why should they care?

The Grassy Knoll says:

Re: Re: Re:3 No improvements in safety? Really?

Government/Federally funded institutions are notorious for promoting policies and enforcements that build a precedent for future actions and policy.

Take fluoridation for instance. Dismiss all of the crazy conspiracy theories about it and boil it down to one simple fact: Sodium-Fluoride is derived from the process of making iron. It is a byproduct that was previously tossed out. Fluoridation advocates have largely centered around national health think tanks and lobbyists, groups whose leadership and substational funding came from Rockefeller owned metals companies, who had found a way to make money off of this byproduct.

Whether you believe they had any further malicious intent is irrelevant to this argument. What’s important is that these people advocate three steps ahead, and the slippery slope argument needs to kept top of mind.

Vincent Clement says:

Re: Re: Re: No improvements in safety? Really?

Citing the same report twice doesn’t help to make your point.

http://www.tfhrc.gov/safety/pubs/05048/index.htm is the same as http://www.tfhrc.gov/safety/pubs/05049/05049.pdf

The Wikipedia entry notes that one study “also notably found that red-light violations decreased by 94% at one Fairfax County intersection, after the advent of a 1.5 second longer yellow-light cycle.” It also states that one UK report “urges caution in drawing too strong conclusions from a small data set.”

Ryan says:

Re: No improvements in safety? Really?


Funny that IIHS insists regression be accounted for in studies at stoplights when it never considers the same factor in its studies of speed limits.

Spillover effect is IIHS’s trick for giving the cameras credit for reducing fatalities even where they aren’t. It assumes that red-light cameras at a few intersections will cause drivers to stop promptly all over town, or all over the county, or maybe all over the state, so improvements outside the cameras’ ZIP Codes are credited to them nonetheless. As statistical acrobatics go, this one is breathtaking.

But you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. The obvious way to gauge the payoff of red-light cameras is to compare intersections with cameras to those without, then zoom in on crashes actually caused by drivers running red lights. Instead, IIHS considered all crashes at all 125 signalized intersections in Oxnard and concluded that injury crashes dropped by 29 percent due to the cameras, even though they were installed at only 11 intersections.


Some studies that conclude cameras reduced crashes or injuries contained major research design flaws, such as incomplete data or inadequate analyses, and were conducted by researchers with links to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The IIHS, funded by automobile insurance companies, is the leading advocate for red-light cameras. Insurers can profit from red-light cameras, since their revenues will increase when higher premiums are charged due to the crash and citation increase, the researchers say.

Joseph Durnal (user link) says:

Not criminal, civil, decent friends, no problem.

Ahh, but they don’t call it a crime, they call it a civil violation, that way they don’t have to prove anything beyond a reasonable doubt. Really, would you let someone use your car that wouldn’t reimburse you for the fine they got you by running a red light? I know that if I borrowed a car and was caught running a red light, I’d offer to pay the fine.

I still have no problem with red light cameras. I got one ticket from one a few years ago, right turn on red when there was a sign that said no turn on red that I didn’t see.

Ilfar says:

Thumbs Up From Me

Those blasted red turning arrows have got me before too. At two in the morning…

I think it’s a good idea myself. In Auckland, New Zealand, when a light goes green, you sit and wait an extra second before going, because it’s almost guaranteed SOMEONE will shoot the red light. Thankfully I’d been warned about this, or my first green light I’d have been totalled.

And if they can idenfity that it’s your car, then why not fine you for it. As Joseph pointed out – loan your car to people you trust and it’s not a problem.

CastorTroy-Libertarian says:

Re: Thumbs Up From Me

Thank you for trading your freedom and giving the government more power, should we wrap you in foam and get you a little government approved helmet too?? OH and they can get you a neat little blue pill that make all the bad feelings go away. now your a nice, protected, drooling government puppet…

Wow some people will let the government do anything “as long as its for safety” or “think of the children”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Thumbs Up From Me

what if you take the car into a repair shop to be fixed and the mechanic, taking it for a test drive, takes it through a red light? Are you saying that it’s still your fault? Or you put it in a parking garage — some of them take the keys, due to limited space — and their driver takes it through a red light? You shouldn’t be charged for a crime someone else commits, just because your property was involved in the crime.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Thumbs Up From Me

> what if you take the car into a repair shop
> to be fixed and the mechanic, taking it for
> a test drive, takes it through a red light?
> Are you saying that it’s still your fault?

They’re not saying it’s your fault. They’re saying it’s your responsibility.

If the mechanic cost you money, then you go back to the mechanic with the ticket and demand he reimburse you. If he refuses, then sue him in small claims court and have a judge order him to. Should be a simple case to prove.

ugh says:

Please realize that they do this due to the massive amount of rentals in Florida. These fees DO get charged to the rental companies, as do running tolls, etc…

The rental companies have an agreement with a 3rd party collection agency that will charge a 50-100% premium over the fine, and will aggressively come after it. The whole thing is one big market.

mwalczak says:

Readlight Camera

Too bad, go to Europe and drive in Germany. They have lived with this for years and I am amazed at the road discipline have. They take the cameras very seriously. The problem here we don’t like our right infringed on. But when I see people running redlights and causing accident’s this protecting my rights. And BTW I have seen many. Although I do agree that the system should not be exploited.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Readlight Camera

Comparing drivers in Germany to American drivers is like apples and oranges. They’re both a fruit but it stops there. The requirements to get a license in Germany is, I believe, a 6 month class. Then a year of probation then finally a license. They are more respectful of Red Lights in general. They are also better drivers…
Red light cameras are a scam and do NOT decease safety. That is what the companies who sell the product claim. On the surface it would make sense. But it is a load of bull.
Here is a link to FIVE different studies showing cameras do not descrease accidents. http://www.motorists.org/blog/red-light-cameras-increase-accidents-5-studies-that-prove-it/
This website is not backed by an insurance lobby.
Please open your eyes people and demand your city councils do not allow the red light companies to install an ATM at your down town intersection.

Pixelpusher220 says:

Re: Re: Readlight Camera

Red light cameras DO increase safety. Or are you saying that Speed Limit signs don’t increase safety too?

The issue is driver training as you note in your post. Implementing a new rule (red light cameras) without any re-training of the population is going to take *years* before you see any significant results.

That said, the implementation of Red light cameras has been rightfully maligned in many places. It was instituted in illegal ways, giving financial incentives to issue more fines, etc.

That doesn’t make the device bad, it means that how it is used is important too.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Readlight Camera

Here are two studies and a web site pointing to more studies that indicate that the cameras work. The first two studies do not appear to be linked to insurance companies.




Stephen Downes (profile) says:

The principle is, if you are the owner of a car, the you are responsible for what the car does. This is an extension of the same principle applied elsewhere.

If somebody is driving your car and gets a red light ticket, sue them. That’s what small claims court is for.

As for people complaining about their rights – I am totally tired of having to watch for people running red lights. They are endangering everyone’s safety for a few seconds saved – and they have the nerve to complain about _their_ rights. Pfaw.

Oh – and for those complaining about due process – you _can_ have your day in court. That is your right. And at that day in court, a photograph will be presented with your car (probably with you at the wheel) easily visible running a red light. Fight it if you want.

Ryan says:

Re: Re:

Fine, you can pay for my day in court. Since red-light cameras do not actually make you any safer, making your argument for them completely moot, all it does is raise insurance premiums and provides extra business for lawyers if the tickets are fought. Right now, we should be doing everything possible to eliminate business for lawyers and courts, as their overuse is a drag on the economy and the general social good.

Ryan says:

Re: Re:

I also fail to see how this principle is applied elsewhere. If your gun is stolen from you, you are not responsible for the murders or vandalism committed with it(or your kitchen knife, your baseball bat, etc.). If your car is driven by another, you are not liable for vehicular homicide or DUIs commited by the driver. Why are you now responsible for running a red light? If I use your IP address to look at child porn, should you be the one thrown in prison and added to the sex offender list? Fine by me, I guess…

B says:

Re: Re:

“The principle is, if you are the owner of a car, the you are responsible for what the car does. This is an extension of the same principle applied elsewhere.”

Elsewhere? WHERE elsewhere? If someone is driving your car and uses it in a crime, are you held responsible? No. If someone is in on your property and starts firing a gun at the neighbors, are you responsible? No.

Hell your argument falls apart with the scenario presented here.

If your friend is driving your car and runs a red light… and a cop catches him (not a red light camera), HE gets a ticket, not you.

Noah Buddy says:

This is for people who say “What if it’s not me driving?”

What happens when you lend your car to a friend and they park it illegally? Around here the fine/fees go to the car and its owner.

I have no problem with red light cameras. Owning a car is a responsibility, and people need to be aware of who they let drive their car. If you’re letting someone drive your car and they run red lights, maybe you should be fined for your stupidity.

Matt (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Something like this happened not too long ago. A driver purposely ran a light with one of the cameras so he could take the city to court and contest the legality of the system. A cop happened to see the said light-running and gave him a ticket. That is handled through the traffic courts and is totally different.. hence he was not able to bring his point up in court.

The quick way to think of how they do it is the difference between getting a ticket for speeding (person charged with a moving violation) and parking your car too long in a spot with a parking meter (owner gets the non-moving civil violation).

Anonymous Coward says:

I have no problem with red light cameras and the ticket going to the owner of the car as long as points don’t go to the license. If your car is stolen, then file a police report and your not liable. If you loan it to a friend, get the money from that friend. And if they won’t pay? Get better freinds.

Sheesh. I don’t trust the government as much as the next guy, but I can’t beleive all the righteous indignation and chicken littles running around.

eNola says:

Not that different

This isn’t all that different than the way it’s set up in AZ, to be honest. Right now, if you get caught by a camera for a violation, they review the photos and, if they decide to charge, the ticket is sent directly to the owner of the vehicle. Your choices are to accept responsibility or, if it wasn’t you, tell them who it was (and provide a copy of your photo ID as proof it wasn’t you) so that they can go after them, instead. If you don’t know who it was because your car was stolen or something like that, you can explain that in court, along with any supporting documents (police reports from when you reported it stolen, etc).

The article itself says you can appeal.

krsd99 says:

Re: Not that different

That is not entirely correct. The ticket is sent to the owner, but the owner is only required by Law to identify themselves. They are not required to actually identify the driver although the ticket they send indicates that you should and is worded so as to make it sound like you have to.

You may own the car, but objects do not break laws, people do using objects. So fining the owner of a vehicle for the actions of another is definitely unconstitutional. The The Eighth Amendment reads as follows:
“Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”

I would call any fine for the actions of another excessive, especially when the test for the fine is whether you are the owner of a piece of property. Several have suggested that you still get a day in court, but a court that rubber stamps it’s verdict on things before hearing the case, or renders judgment without actually weighing the merits of a case is hardly a matter of Due Process. That unfortunately is something that AZ courts are all too guilty of, but that is a separate topic.

wnyght says:

a work around

Food for thought: These cameras are all digital if i am not mistaken. Now, a cool little TECH note about digital cameras is that they can see infrared light. Don’t believe me? Pull out you cell phone, have it ready to take a picture, and then point it at the front of a TV remote and start pressing buttons on the remote.
Now my proposal: Install high power Infrared lights or infrared LED’s around you licence plate. To the naked eye, nothing unusual. To the traffice cam, a bid bright beam of light. No way for them to read the plate, to way for them to mail the ticket. Just a thought.

Anonymous Coward says:

Why don’t they just require the camera provide a picture of the driver as well? Wouldn’t that solve the problem of guessing who the driver is? Shouldn’t it be the state’s burden to prove you committed the offense?

Comments like “get better friends” and “don’t own a car” have got to be some of the most asinine things being uttered in here. What if your friend did turn out to be a jerk and you’re not friends anymore or whatever….the innocent person is just supposed to eat the fine or better yet, take off work and go to court, which would probably cost more than the ticket in the first place.

florida cracker says:

victem of toll cams

I can tell you through personal experience how Florida deals with these cams. If you skip a toll the authority that runs that toll booth (not the police) send you a toll violation notice with a fine for $25. If you blow that off THEN it goes to a law enforcement agency where they issue a Uniform Traffic Citation (UTC). NOW you may have your day in court if you wish. While it is still just a civil violation you have no appeal whatsover except to beg the toll authority to not send it to the police. If it is a SunPass (One of Florida’s RFID systems) then you get straightened out with SunPass, then tell the toll authority to run the toll charge again and if it gets paid you are off the hook.

The notice of Violation comes with an affadavit so you may swear that someone else was driving the car at the time of the violation, but you have to give that persons name and address and phone. Then they can send the civil violation notice to them.

So, basically the bottom line is that the toll authority, in leu of a ticket, is suing you and must settle for $25. Oh, by the way, if it goes to the point of a UTC, and you get the $100 fine, $25 dollars of that fine goes to the toll authority.

Further, the MDX toll authority (all of Miami-Dade county, mdxway.com) makes it as simple as possible to pay the fine, and as difficult as possible to correct a mistake.

Like you all say, this is not about obeying traffic laws. This is about a revenue stream for the toll authorities and therefore the municipalities and the State.

Sean says:

A few comments

First off to the person that talked about renting a car and running a bunch of red lights. Look at the rental agreement before doing that. Most will have a clause in it that says that they can automatically charge any fines they receive to your credit card or take you to court for them.

To those who made comments about affecting insurance rates. I recently received a red light camera ticket in Delaware. Not only did they have multiple pictures in the letter that I received, but they also had video I could watch online. The fine was about $100 and 0 points on the driving record. No points means no increase in insurance rates.

Burt says:


How do these laws hold up in winter? In drivers ed class we were always told to run the red light rather than go into a spin and crashing into people during winter storm. Or what if the traffic backs up and people are stuck in the middle of an intersection because of a train, ambulance, accident?

Having lived in WI my entire life, this is exactly how people act as well. It is common to allow people stuck in snow to get through the intersection during huge snow storms.

I ask this because WI is considering adding red light cameras a second time. The first time the law was struck down as unconstitutional to the state. They are trying again.

Anonymous Coward says:

I’m in Texas and we have the same problem. I’ve already recieved a ticket and not only was I not driving I could prove I was at work when the incident occured. They court said they would have ticketed the driver if I could prove who was driving at the time, but I fail to see where that is my responsability to track down the guilty party and bring evidence against them.

Why did I have to prove my innocence? What happened to me being innocent until proven guilty in a court of law? What happened to my right to meet my accuser? Are they going to dismount the camera and have it testify in court? The evidence produced only showed that a vehicle matching the description of mine with a plate number that matched mine crossed a lane of traffic while it was red.

How far are we willing to let the government go before “we the people” take a stand?

By the way I had to pay the fine. I was found guilty because I refused to identify and locate the driver of the car.

BTR1701 says:

Re: Legality

> Why did I have to prove my innocence? What
> happened to me being innocent until proven
> guilty in a court of law? What happened to
> my right to meet my accuser?

All of those constitutional guarantees only apply in criminal cases. These tickets are civil administrative fines, so the Constitution doesn’t apply.

Max Kayden (user link) says:


A few months back, there was a story of some kids going out with cars that look similar to their school enemies, and then they tape a printed license plate over their own. The camera can’t tell the difference, and the evidence is so ridiculously easy to fake. This is one of those things where I could see someone borrowing or renting a car that looked like a certain politician’s, printing up the same license plate, and running through red lights all over (because unlike murder, you can violate red light laws without even risking harm to yourself or anyone else).

Anonymous Coward says:

A similar situation happened up here in cleveland to a laywer. He argues against the ticket claiming that he did not own the car because it was a lease and the car was titled to the leasing company. He won the case and everyone with a leased car who got a ticket from a red light camera can claim a refund with the city of cleveland.

Jamie (profile) says:

I don’t think this article is clear enough on how this process actually works.

Here, in Australia, the owner of the vehicle is sent any fines from red-light/speed cameras automatically. On the back of the fine there is a section to declare who the actual driver was at the time, or even if the driver is unknown.

If this is what REALLY happens in florida, then fine. If not, I agree it’s a screwed system.

Either way, I agree with everyones opinion on these cameras being nothing more than a revenue raising mechanism.

sim says:

please don't steal my $200 car

If someone steals my car and runs lights in it, I could be arrested and fined more than the car is worth, even though I would be a crime victim and innocent of any traffic violation whatsoever. On second thought–go ahead–I don’t have a job, no prospects, and I could use three squares a day, or something close.

Anonymous Coward says:


This is the way the law is in California. It’s brilliant. What you do is you register the car you normally drive in your wife’s name and your car in your name.

Then when the owner gets the ticket, you get it thrown out because of a gender mis-match. BTDT, perfect.

Not that you should run red lights, but the ticket I fought was for a right turn on red….

MadLad says:

It was like this since the very beginning in Winnipeg, Canada

The Owner here in Winnipeg is getting a ticket by default too.

Rental companies always apply all charges to the customer credit card. Before getting the car, each customer signs the preapproved payment for at least $500 and agrees to pay all possible charges for violating rules, running on red-light cameras, etc… I guess the only way to avoid charges is to cancel your credit card right away after the trip. Still, the credit card company will be after you later.

Around six years ago I got an invoice by mail from overseas with $180 charge on my credit card. I hit the speed limit. 🙂

Beverly says:

Red Lights

Come on, everyone, be realistic. If you drive a car in the Orlando area, you know a minimum of six drivers go through the intersection even though the light is red. I have sat at a light and have seen 10 cars drive through.

The lights have been up for a couple of months now. I wish they would start handing out the tickets instead of threatening to do so.

Word of wisdom. If you do not like the way someone drives, don’t give them your car. It is a very simple concept.

Stephanie Hoback (user link) says:


As you are aware, there is much controversy and debate going on around the topic of red light cameras in Florida. The Wavetronix SmartSensor Advance is a safe, non-intrusive and non-controversial alternative to cameras, and our proven technologies can even complement existing RLC systems to further enhance the safety of intersections. SmartSensor Advance installs above ground, configures automatically, requires little to no maintenance and performs accurately in all weather conditions.

SmartSensor Advance uses radar to monitor individual vehicles as they approach an intersection. It uses a vehicle’s speed to determine its estimated time of arrival at the intersection, increasing efficiency by allowing traffic to continue moving until a safe gap is detected in the traffic flow; and increasing safety by reducing the chance that a driver will get caught in a 2.5 to 5.5 second decision dilemma zone, something red light cameras alone cannot do. The benefits can be dramatic: a 10-year study of systems like ours found a 75 percent reduction in rear-end collisions; a 31 percent reduction in right-angle collisions; and a 65 percent reduction in incidents of red-light running.

A study conducted by the Federal Highway Administration evaluated the effectiveness of red light cameras. This study found RLC systems decreased right-angle crashes but increased rear-end collisions. Researchers noted, “The economic analysis examined the extent to which the increase in rear end crashes negates the benefits for decreased right-angle crashes.”

If safety is a priority, then it would benefit all agencies to look into the SmartSensor Advance.

Janet M. Corzette says:

Red Light Ticket

I got a ticket for $100.00 for running a stop light for a car that is registered to me, which I have not driven in 4 years or more. When I called to complain all I was told was this will not go against my license. I have not had a ticket in years, but they will not take the ticket out of my name even though I have not even been in the location where the ticket was issued in a year (another city).

Janet M. Corzette says:

Red Light Ticket

I got a ticket for $100.00 for running a stop light for a car that is registered to me, which I have not driven in 4 years or more. When I called to complain all I was told was this will not go against my license. I have not had a ticket in years, but they will not take the ticket out of my name even though I have not even been in the location where the ticket was issued in a year (another city).

Curious says:

Red Lights don't solve anything

Florida must be the exception to the rule. Up here in Maryland, the red light cameras seem to keep drivers from flying through yellow lights, which tends to prevent accidents.

Also, there is an infamous road called Randolph Rd in Maryland that installed speed cameras. Originally a lot of us, self-included, felt that was just a revenue generator (the project did generate over 40 million US dollars in 2007 alone), but there has not been a devastating accident on that road during rush hour since a month after the cameras came online.

I still maintain that it is the people driving slow where others have a tendency to drive fast that cause accidents, but the speed cameras in this instance have helped more than it has harmed.

Sue McCartin says:

Red light cam rip off

These things are nothing but cash machines for the cities where they are installed. Florida has no laws on this and cities do what they like apparently. Anyone can borrow your car without permission, which is what happened to me. Clearly in their video the light just changed to red, this is where they get you and I can fully believe the light timings get manipulated in order to create more revenue from this. I hate this state, this is just another reason. Stay out of Port Richey where they have two of these apparently these days. As far as I can tell the intersections where these live are not marked in any way that I’ve seen, typical florida rip off and I live 40 miles away from the city so they think I’ll just pay it and shut up. Don’t let anyone tell you there is no points because it shows up on your record and your insurance company will dick you over with it. Too cheap to pay officers but they’ll spend millions on this, too cheap to pay state employees (who haven’t had raises in three years) but plenty of money for crap like this. Any city that has these should be boycotted strenuously, I don’t see how this is any different than having 40 officers sitting on a major road, in this case US 19, seeking victims which is called a speed trap…this is nothing different than that. No one in this state, in this economy has this sort of money, heck a buck 25 for a chees burger is out of reach for me so how can i come up with 125.00 and they want it two weeks after the damn thing comes in the mail.

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