Changes in Florida's red-light camera laws will help some cities wring more money out of strapped camera programs, reports the Miami Herald. The new legislation, which went into effect July 1, requires municipalities with the cameras to set up local hearing boards for people who get violation notices and want to fight them. It gives drivers more time to appeal, and doesn't force them to wait until after payment is due and their $158 notice of violation becomes a $264 Uniform Traffic Citation in order to contest it.
But the new regulations also let cities collect up to an extra $250 in administrative fees from people who fight a citation and lose — bringing the total cost of their ticket as high as $408 — and some cities are counting on that money. The possibility of challenging a ticket and losing is keeps some drivers from even trying. At a red-light camera citation hearing last week, a crowd of drivers with citations thinned as drivers took a last-minute deal: pay $190 and not fight their citations, or fight and risk paying $263 if they lost.