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Red Light Camera Tickets Innocent Driver Yet Again

Posted on September 22nd, 2009 in | 12 Comments

Red Light Camera Tickets Innocent Driver Yet Again
A recent news report in Baton Rouge, Louisiana gives yet another example of a red light camera ticketing an innocent driver and then leaving it up to the accused motorist to prove the ticket was undeserved.

Here’s a quick overview of what happened:

Troy Carter, a driver with a Louisiana license plate, received a red light camera ticket in the mail from the city of Baton Rouge. The photo showed a Blue Mercury vehicle, which was completely different from the vehicle he owned — a white GMC Yukon XL.

However, both his vehicle and the Mercury shared the same license plate number. The key was that Carter’s vehicle is registered in Louisiana with Louisiana plates while the Blue Mercury is registered in Texas and has a Texas license plate. The ticket should have gone to the owner of the Blue Mercury but instead Troy Carter ended up with completely undeserved ticket out of the blue.

On its website, the city assures residents that this kind of thing won’t happen with the ticket camera program because each ticket is “evaluated by sworn members of the Police Department to verify that a violation has occurred and to determine whether a notice of violation should be mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle.”

After this kind of mistake, they’re going to have a tough time convincing anyone that their “evaluation process” isn’t just an officer with a rubber stamp.

The story didn’t end there though.

Troy Carter wrote a letter to the city that included visual proof of their mistake. However, instead of apologizing, the city’s response was basically “show up in court or pay the ticket.”

That’s when Carter turned to News 2, a local TV station. A reporter went to District Court — which is where the ticket instructed Carter to go — to ask about the citation. The employees there told him that they couldn’t help him and that he should actually go talk to City Court.  Employees at City Court explained that all they deal with is collecting payments for red light camera tickets and that they couldn’t help him either.

In the end, like Troy Carter, News 2 found it impossible to figure out who was actually accountable for the red light camera appeals system in Baton Rouge.

The station eventually had to go to American Traffic Solutions (ATS), the ticket camera manufacturer, to get the citation dismissed for Mr. Carter.

So how do you fight an undeserved red light camera ticket in Baton Rouge? Unfortunately, the news station wasn’t able to get that answer for their viewers. Apparently the only way to do it is to embarrass the ticket camera company through the local media.

It’s a good thing cameras never make mistakes.


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12 Responses to “Red Light Camera Tickets Innocent Driver Yet Again”

  1. [...] In another story that ticket camera companies will insist is an isolated incident (despite a new incident seemingly surfacing each week), a Peoria, Illinois woman was sent a ticket that should have gone to [...]

  2. Robert Pearl says:

    While ‘cameras never make mistakes’ there operators do! The whole ‘rubber stamp’ process should be destroyed as well.

  3. Randy says:

    He says he is innocent but how do we know that? Can he prove he wasn’t driving the car that was ticketed? He was probably drinking and got into the wrong car. He could have killed someone, he should have been happy he only got a ticket.

  4. Randy says:

    Ok. Someone made mistake. Minor mistakes like this happen eery day by thousands of people at their job. Now that the mistake was discovered how many people break the laws like driinking and driving or actually running red lights on purpose and that is ok with the person that wrote this article even though those things that were done on purpose do kill people . You have your priorities screwed up.

    • Randall says:

      That’s fine if it’s a mistake. The issue here is that there was no way for the guy to go to court and prove his innocence, he HAD TO CALL THE CAMERA COMPANY! He shouldn’t have to call the camera company or a news station. He should have been able to go to court and get it dismissed.

      But also the gov’t shouldn’t guarantee that no mistakes happen either, that’s the other issue. How can you sit there and say these things don’t happen and then one of your employees let it happen. Don’t promise no mistakes if you can’t.

      And i dont think anyone runs a red light on purpose, that’s stupid and dangerous. You know how many people I see stop at red lights every day. Everyone I see stops. Sure you get an occasional person who speeds up for the yellow and dosen’t quite make it, but they still go through the red early enough that nothing happens. people who run red lights and get into accidents most likely are not paying attention, not doing it on purpose.

    • Baja Joes says:

      You are right Randy. Nagging mistakes happen everywhere. That part isn’t uusual or troubling.
      The real issue is that the City didn’t seem to have a means of correcting the error. The fact that he had to go to the Ticket camera company to get it corrected is fraught with improprieties that could occur.
      Think about a civilian entity dealing with correcting an (alleged)traffic violation. Possible thoughts of Corruption anyone?
      There should have been some way to deal with it thru a legal authority.
      Perhaps concerned city residents should band together and create a legal defense fund to represent those whose driving license may be held hostage by a machine.
      You can be assured the city would diligently check tickets if they knew the issue would be handled in the Court!

    • Randy says:

      Randall you are right that there are people that “speed up!!!!!” when they see a yellow light and are a couple of hundred feet behind the intersection or more. They do not always miss it by only a fraction of a second though and there have even been others that post here that said they would go througjh a red light within the first couple of seconds or more. Then you have some that see the light in the other direction turn yellow and start to roll forward so they are in the intersection by the time it turns red from the other direction. An explosion occurs with the “speeding” car.

      Baja Joes the ticket could have been handled in court but he did not want to go to court to do it which is understandable. It may have been possible to get it corrected at the police station but we do not know what lengths they went to to reach anyone because it was not in the article. If this is a very rare occurance which it sounds like it might be then going to court may be a way to get it taken care of. He should have been able to find the court prosecuter and he may have been able to take care of it before the court date. Sometimes people do not think of problems like this beforehand and give the information for resolution to the courthouse.




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