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Miami Red Light Cameras Working Now

MIAMI (CBS4) --The City of Miami is ringing-in the New Year with something shiny and bright – new red light cameras at city intersections.

Starting Saturday drivers are warned to slow their speed as they approach intersections. Starting with the new year red light runners will be caught on camera and will get a $158 ticket in the mail. Warnings will not be issued.

Tickets sent in the mail will include photographs of driver's vehicle and license plates.

"This fine remains the same for each subsequent red-light violation committed by the same driver,'' said Jose Gonzalez, assistant transportation coordinator for the city. ``Warnings will not be issued. A driver who receives a notice of violation can choose to appear in court.''

Also, the citations do not add points to drivers' records, so insurance costs should be unaffected.

The city is looking to bring-in close to $8 million annually through these types of fines from cameras installed at more than a dozen intersections that include: Southwest 37th Avenue and South Dixie Highway,
Southeast 26th Road and Brickell Avenue, and Northeast 36th Street and Biscayne Boulevard.

A city contractor and a police officer will review video clips and photographs from the cameras to confirm each violation.

Accused violators have the option of paying the citation and viewing the video and photos online. If the notice is not paid or appealed in court within 30 days, a Uniform Traffic Citation will be issued for a higher amount which may include court costs, Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez said violations will not be issued to a motorist making a right or left turn if the motorist crossed the stop bar and entered the intersection before the light turned red.

``Reducing the likelihood of accidents caused by red-light running will not only save lives and reduce serious injuries,'' he said, ``but also improve mobility and traffic flow at critical intersections.''

The red-light camera program is expected to bring about $8 million into cash-strapped Miami's coffers in its first year.

Miami joins other South Florida cities, including Aventura, Hollywood and Pembroke Pines that have installed the red-light cameras.

Ted Hollander, a lawyer and part-owner of The Ticket Clinic who has offices in several cities, and said he has seen increased business since the red-light programs started. But he called the red-light cameras ``totally unfair.''

``In my opinion, the law violates many parts of our constitution,'' Hollander said. ``The way it is set up between the camera company and the city, in my opinion, it is illegal.''

He said the red-light cameras violate the equal protection that is guaranteed by the constitution.

``The notice given to those who receive a ticket is inadequate, and the contract that the cities have entered into with the camera company violates the [state] red-light camera law,'' he said.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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