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Red-light runners in Texas failing to pay fines

FORT WORTH, Texas - Tens of thousands of tickets were sent out in Texas cities last year due to alleged violations captured by so-called red-light cameras, but a lot of drivers - including city officials - are refusing to pay those fines, and the cities that have those cameras can't do much about it, reports CBS DFW.

In 2013, Arlington issued 92,941 red light camera notices. They closed out the year with 27,461 unpaid fines. One city over, in Fort Worth, there were 195,906 tickets issued and 71,414 left outstanding - well over a-third - reports the station.

For more than a year, leaders from Arlington, Fort Worth and several other cities had been working with Tarrant County on a solution to their backlog problem. They tried to get the tax collector-assessor to help enforce the tickets by withholding car registrations, but officials thought such an approach wasn't appropriate, reports the station.

"There's a lot of complaints with regard to how these things work. Whether it's fair," Ron Wright, the Tarrant County Tax Collector-Assessor, told CBS DFW of the red-light cameras.

According to the station, several official city and county-registered vehicles in North Texas were ticketed after being caught on red-light cameras, and the drivers failed to pay their fines.

Charlie Parker, District I Councilman, told the station Arlington employees get a special opportunity to plead their case.

"In the event that there is an infraction, a procedure is utilized and forms are filled out to try to explain why that particular infraction was caught on camera," Parker noted. "And if that is not satisfactory to whatever department that had the infraction, then they should be subject to the fine. It's that simple."

According to the station, Texas law says police vehicles are exempt from receiving a red-light camera ticket, regardless of whether they're responding to an emergency.

So far in 2014, 17 police officers have been caught on red-light cameras in Arlington, CBS DFW reports.

In Arlington, there is a group of residents currently collecting signatures to have the red-light cameras removed, according to the station.

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