Posted on July 10, 2011
But as adults you would think we would have outgrown such behavior. Maybe we have, but somebody at the City of Tallahassee has not!
Tallahassean Todd Twilley recently challenged his red light camera ticket in the local court based on a Florida Department of Transportation rule that stated the timing of the yellow light he was charged with running should have been longer. The City of Tallahassee has been issuing red light camera tickets using shorter yellow lights for turn lanes than thru lanes.
A review of the FDOT traffic manual indicated that Twilley’s argument may have merit. This view was confirmed when a city representative, at the initial hearing in traffic court, asked the judge for more time to prepare.
And now this!
It appears that after the hearing in traffic court, the city of Tallahassee indeed recognized the merit in Twilley’s argument, but instead of admitting an error and correcting their procedures to be consistent with rules currently in place, the city has literally tried to rewrite history.
Tallahassee Reports has obtained emails that indicate the City Tallahassee appealed to the Florida Department of Transportation to change the rule that supports Twilley’s argument.
On July 6, 2011, days before the second hearing in Twilley’s case, Mark Wilson, State Traffic Operations Engineer for FDOT, writes in an email:
Our office was recently notified that there may be some confusion or misinterpretation of the requirements in Traffic Engineering Manual (TEM) Section 3.6 that has the formula calculations used to develop the Yellow Change and All-Red Clearance Intervals for Left Turns. Attached is a clarification memo and the revised Section 3.6 that will be adopted.
The revised rule supports the city’s action in Twilley’s case.
In reference to the above email, Allen Seacrest, Traffic Mobility Engineer for the city of Tallahassee writes to assistant city attorney, Rick Courtemanche:
Please see email below from FDOT. This is the clarification from the FDOT that we were looking for regarding the justification for our methods of computing the yellow and all-red change interval signal timing.
What does all of this mean?
We will find out more at the next hearing in traffic court. But Twilley has told Tallahassee Reports that he believes that the city will try to use the rule change to justify his ticket and all the past tickets given to citizens based on a shorter yellow light, despite the rules in place at the time of the ticket.
If the judge rules in Twilley’s favor, does it mean that everyone with a red light ticket based on a shorter yellow light gets a refund? Stay tuned!