- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Florida District Court of Appeals judge ruled recently that red-light camera companies can’t issue tickets, a decision that slaps back the right of private firms to mail fines to motorists.

“In Florida, only law enforcement officers and traffic enforcement officers have the legal authority to issue citations for traffic infractions, which means only law enforcement officers and traffic enforcement officers are entitled to determine who gets prosecuted for a red light violation,” the ruling read, the Florida Watchdog reported.

The video footage from the cameras is examined by the owner of the camera, not law enforcement, and it’s that party that determines if a violation took place, the news outlet reported. The driver then has 60 days to appeal the ticket before it’s converted into a fine.

But Florida law doesn’t allow for private entities to do that, the court found.

“The private company is the one who sends the citations in the name of the city,” said Miami lawyer Victor Yurre, the Watchdog reported. “Now it will have to be the city that does it.”

The case stems from 2011 when a motorist received a subpoena from American Traffic Solutions, the private company hired by the city of Hollywood in Broward County to oversee and implement the red-light camera program, Florida Watchdog reported.

The driver appealed and lost, but the higher court has now reversed the decision.

American Traffic Solutions administers red-light programs to 63 communities in the state, but it isn’t clear if the ruling will impact those municipalities, the Watchdog reported.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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