The first set of hearings for drivers wanting to contest their red light camera violations will occur this morning at City Hall beginning at 9:00 AM. A lot of dialog is underway in the midst of these hearings as debate focuses on the number of violations being issued for failing to stop on red when making a right turn. There are a few key points to remember here.
In checking with our Traffic officers who reviewed these cases, the violations were incidents where the driver did not appreciably slow down before making the right turn. What do we mean by that?
The Traffic officers noted that drivers who slow down to such a speed that is almost but not quite a stop benefited from officer discretion and did not get a violation notice. It was those drivers who barely slowed down who ended up receiving a notice. While both examples are technically violations, common sense and reasonable judgment as to what constitutes good or improper driving behavior is in order here.
One reviewing officer told me the cases that are borderline get the benefit of the doubt while those who received a violation notice would have received a traffic citation if officers had been at the intersection. The bad driving and decision to run the red light, albeit during a right turn on red, were that blatant.
So what happens if the hearing officer decides in favor of the drivers today and dismisses the right turn on red violations?
Well, it won't be the first time we lost a case in some type of court proceeding and it certainly won't be the last. The difference here, though, is graphic video evidence of a violation occurring rather than only having officer testimony. We stand by the evidence showing drivers failing to stop before turning right on red and the reasonable decisions by our Traffic officers to issue notices of violation for these incidents caught on camera.
We also understand the concept of due process and a driver's right to contest the charges. It's the system that works in our nation everyday.
- Asst Chief Bill LePere