Cameras are snapping photos of red-light scofflaws in Houston, but many violators likely won’t pay the $75 fine, says the Houston Chronicle. Only about a quarter of drivers ticketed from September through December had paid the fine by the end of the year. Violators have 45 days to pay or request a hearing to contest the citation. So some drivers ticketed in December still have time to pay, or payments already made may be recorded in January statistics.
When the camera-monitoring program began, police estimated a quarter of violators would pay their tickets. Police Department Budget Director Larry Yium said then that the estimate was low and somewhat arbitrary. The vendor providing the cameras expected the collection rate to be as high as 90 percent, based on collections in other cities. Unpaid citations are referred to collection agencies. Because camera-generated citations are civil, not criminal, courts can’t issue arrest warrants for those who don’t pay, as they can for drivers who don’t pay speeding tickets – or red-light tickets issued by police who witness violations.