Surprise? First 6 drivers who fight red light cameras all lose (30 reads) By Debbie Carson,Staff Writer
TEMPLE TERRACE — Temple Terrace held its first traffic court hearing within City Hall last week, drawing six people who contested their red light running tickets to no avail.
“It went very smoothly,” said city spokesman Michael Dunn. It did not go smoothly if you were a protesting driver.
Temple Terrace attorney Temple Drummond, of Drummond, Wehle and Ross LLP, presided over the hearing. He ruled against each of the petitioners.
The court date was the first of what will be monthly hearings held the first Wednesday of each month where registered vehicle owners can contest tickets received via the red light cameras installed in the city.
Currently, the city only has two cameras. They catch drivers running the light southbound on N. 56th Street at Fowler Avenue and westbound drivers on Bullard Parkway at N. 56th Street.
At the Jan. 5 city council meeting, Councilman Ron Govin voiced concerns about the number of tickets issued to drivers who fail to stop before turning right on a red light at the two intersections.
He said that he has received numerous phone calls from upset drivers who said they didn’t know they had to come to a complete stop before making the turn.
Govin asked if, at the very least, the city could install signs at the intersections informing drivers that they must stop before turning on red.
City Manager Kim Leinbach said that signs would be installed soon, possibly sometime this week.
Govin also mentioned that if the signs weren’t installed in a timely manner, the city should consider suspending right-on-red tickets temporarily.
Both Councilman Mark Knapp and Councilwoman Alison Fernandez disagreed, noting that ignorance of the law is not a defense for breaking it.
Also, it’s a matter of public safety, Fernandez and Police Chief Ken Albano said. They added that drivers frequently look to the left for oncoming traffic before making the right turn, but they fail to look right for any pedestrians or bicyclists who may be crossing the intersection.
Chief Albano also said that the cameras are programmed to not trigger unless the turning vehicle is going 15 mph or faster as it approaches the turn. He added that most drivers who slowly roll through the intersection typically don’t get caught by the camera.
Get a ticket from the red light camera and want to contest it? The next traffic court date is set for Feb. 4 at 6 p.m. in the Temple Terrace City Council Chambers in City Hall.
The following is information from the City of Temple Terrace:
“You may contest the civil penalty by requesting, in writing, an appeal for a hearing. Sign and mail the coupon included on the bottom of the reverse side of your Notice of Violation. Your request must be received by the Due Date stated on the front of your Notice. Upon receipt, you will be notified of the date, time and location of your hearing. “If you are found liable after your hearing, you will pay an additional $50 for court costs, and you will have 15 days in which to pay.
“If you have any questions, please contact Customer Service toll free at 1-866-790-4111.”