According to the Texas Monitor, a driver who was sent a $75 ticket in Dallas has gotten approval to sue the company that makes the red light cameras. The driver wants to sue the city, as well as the camera company, with fraud. In a letter, the driver was told that his failure to pay the $75 ticket would result in the claim being sent to a collection agency.
Red light cameras have long faced major criticism. Some claim that they violate a person’s Constitutional rights. Others claim that they make streets safer and prevent accidents by ensuring that people abide by the law. In many municipalities, the cameras are placed at intersections where vulnerable communities are present—for example they are placed beside schools, hospitals, or at intersections where violations take place. However, critics of the cameras claim that the municipalities aren’t performing necessarily engineering studies before putting the cameras in place. Municipalities can collect quite a bit of money from red light cameras. In Houston alone, the cameras amassed $44 million in collected ticket fines.
Yet, can individuals or groups of individuals sue a red light camera company for damages? The case in Dallas is not the first of its kind. According to the Sun Sentinel, in Florida, individuals who had been assessed fines from red light cameras joined together in a class action lawsuit against the state. The citizens banded together claiming that the cameras were not legal. In many municipalities and districts the cameras are not owned by police, but are instead managed and owned by private companies who send the data to local police. Citizens claim that the transfer of private ownership of this information is a violation of the law.
And in Chicago, the Chicago Tribune reported on a $38.75 million settlement given to people who had received violations in the mail. The city had failed to properly send out notice to those who had been cited. Under the lawsuit, 1.2 million people were forgiven debts for ticket violations because the courts found that letters were not sent in a proper fashion. Some people were found guilty too soon, meaning they weren’t given time to dispute their violations. Others faced increased fines in a short time period when they failed to receive proper notice. The Chicago Tribune also found cases where yellow lights were made shorter leading to an increased number of violations. In other instances, the city’s partnership with certain camera companies was brought into question.
Red light cameras continue to remain controversial, but the reality is that speeding, running red lights, and other traffic violations can lead to serious accidents, personal injury, and death. The Law Office of Robert Gregg are Dallas, Texas personal injury lawyers who work closely with individuals who have suffered a loss due to another person’s negligence or neglect. If you’ve been in an accident due to another person’s violation of traffic law, you may be entitled to collect damages for medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering. It isn’t clear whether individuals will be able to seek a claim if a red light camera company violated their rights. However, if you’ve been hurt in an accident due to another person’s decision to run a red light, you may be entitled to seek damages under the law.