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Posted in: Exclusive

City Stalls For Time, Gets Red Light Camera Rule Changed

Posted on July 10, 2011

City Stalls For Time, Gets Red Light Camera Rule Changed

rss-redlightWhen you were growing up didn’t you hate the kids that changed the rules of the game when they were losing? Usually those kids were the bullies and you had to accept it and move on!

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!

 

14 Responses to City Stalls For Time, Gets Red Light Camera Rule Changed

  1. Jonny Cinq Reply

    July 11, 2011 at 11:54 am

    I hope the judge remembers that you cant apply rules ex post facto.

  2. Leonh74 Reply

    July 11, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    The rule change and clarification is not was meant as transparent government. The action is a transparent attempt to get a favorable court ruling in order to continue to plague drivers. 

  3. Baporterfield Reply

    July 11, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    They shortened all the lights when putting in cams. It should be criminal, just as much as running it. Shame on the city for tampering!!

  4. Henry Wisencracker Reply

    July 12, 2011 at 12:41 am

    Typical Liberal ploy. Don’t play by the rules. Or, play by them when advantageous to the cause.

  5. W4171a Reply

    July 12, 2011 at 3:58 am

    This is nothing more than one government takeing up for another. I’ve been there done that when I went to DEP concerning 8 plus years of negligence and an accident in the City’s water system. Which I beleive caused injury and environmental damage. 

  6. Sar Reply

    July 12, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    I’m expecting a ticket in the mail for making a left turn on Magnolia/Appalachee.  There were 2 cars in front of me when it turned green and as I went to make my turn the light went from yellow to red in like one second. Why would a high traffic intersection only let 2 cars make a left turn when there’s 7 to 10 cars waiting to turn.  Seems like a set up to me.  

    • Shirtman Reply

      December 23, 2011 at 1:38 pm

      I just received a ticket at the same intersection. Who ever heard of an accident involving a car making a left turn with a car waiting for the green light to go east on Apalachee. This is a Money Grab Program, not a Safety Program.

  7. Blessings04 Reply

    July 12, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    Big Brother is watching everything we do…..It’s come to that .. Everyone that has gotten one of these illegal tickets should make a date to picket the courthouse…There is probably some “under the table” payoffs for “somebody”…….Tennessee Street got me and now I’m paranoid about turning red anywhere in this town…..The money the city paid for these video cameras could have been put into a salary for a police woman or policeman…..

    • lscott Reply

      July 27, 2011 at 12:36 am

      Was it Tennessee and the Circle?  I got a ticket for a 2/10ths of a second and the camera was new with no warning of the new “stop on red” in a right turn lane.  That yellow light is also only 3 seconds long, where the main intersection light is 4.  In March of 2011, three months after the new “stop on red) in a right hand turn lane” law came into effect, the city FINALLY put up a marque that warned of the new light/law.   I’m contesting it, as there was no warning of the new light/law in January, when I got my ticket, and the yellow light was shorter than the main traffic yellow light was.  I was totally unaware of “stop on red” in a right hand turn as all but one other intersection in Tallahassee is “yield” in right turn lane, there was NO warning of this new law when they decided to put it in effect. 

  8. Patrick Jones Reply

    July 13, 2011 at 9:39 am

    What we all need to start doing is to stop at ALL camera lights, no matter what the color of the light.

  9. LeChat Reply

    July 13, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    The names and addresses of the people responsible for this malfeasance need to be published. Maybe a little street justice will correct the situation. 

  10. The Radical Libertarian Reply

    July 13, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    A pellet gun with a laser sight will do wonders for these unjust cameras.

  11. Df Reply

    July 30, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    kill the cameras! they are making money using dirty ways. No future donations from my family to the city and police forever. guranteed never.

  12. Blw06d Reply

    January 30, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    Also, the notice of violation reads : “Failure to pay the violation penalty within 30 days of the date listed on this violation (due date) will result in a uniform traffic citation issued to the registered owner of the vehicle.” the fact that they add the due date in parentheses should mean you have 30 days from the due date. I called the phone # on the violation (850) 891-8040, and talked to Ruby and Veronica. They told me they knew the violation was misworded but I should have known that they meant 30 days from the mail date (not the due date) which gives people less than a month to come up with the money. Ruby and Veronica said they were sorry but they couldn’t do anything to fix or correct the error because they don’t work for the city.

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