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Friday, November 18, 2011

Red Light Cameras Don’t Lie But They Don’t Always Know The Truth

The use of red light cameras is growing throughout the country. They have been proven to cut down on the number of collisions at the intersections where they are installed but, unless the driver’s face is clearly visible in the photo, they can end up sending a ticket to the wrong person.

A recent news article by KXAN TV in Austin TX tells the story of a 76 year old woman in Kingsland TX who received a traffic ticket in the mail for running a red light. When a driver runs a red light monitored by a red light camera, the ticket is automatically sent to the registered owner of the vehicle. The problem in this case is that she had sold that particular car more than two years before. Since that time, she has been involved in an ongoing struggle with the Texas DMV to prove that the car is no longer hers and that she received the ticket erroneously.

Luckily she has the paperwork to back up her claim but the bureaucracy has been slow to respond and her case has been sent to a collection agency for non-payment. It appears that this fight could go on for some time before it is resolved.

This author had a similar experience. After loaning my car to one of my children, I received a ticket in the mail along with a picture showing my car going through a red light. The result was an immediate phone call with my child promising to take responsibility and pay the fine right away. Unfortunately, in some of these cases, things don’t always go so smoothly.

If you loan your car to another driver, make sure that that driver is aware that he or she is responsible for any ticket they might receive. If you have any doubts, before loaning out your car, make sure you get something in writing showing the date and time that the car was loaned out and when it was returned.

In the case of selling your vehicle to another driver, KXAN TV offered the following advice from the Texas DMV:

· Fill out a vehicle transfer notification either online or through the mail within 30 days of the sale of your car. The DMV then becomes an advocate for you if your title is not transferred by the buyer-they will help waive any tickets or toll violations, etc. If it is after 30 days then person can still register the vehicle transfer notification but it is up to the seller to argue their own cases

· Go with the buyer to the DMV to register the vehicle instead of just selling the vehicle from the meeting place.

· Take the license plates at the time of the sale, which forces the buyer to get new plates and register the vehicle.

If you are the driver and have been caught by a red light camera, some states require that you attend a mandatory driving school.

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