Pinellas County Clerk calls for red light camera moratorium - WFLA News Channel 8

Pinellas County Clerk calls for red light camera moratorium

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CLEARWATER, FL (WFLA) -

The Pinellas County Clerk of Court is asking six cities in Pinellas county to put a moratorium on writing tickets for drivers caught running red lights.  Clerk Ken Burke sent a letter to St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Oldsmar, Kenneth City, Gulfport and South Pasadena, calling the red light camera ticketing process unfair and confusing.  "It's a result of citizen complaints we've received at the clerk's office and how they feel the violations are unfair," said Marie Wilson, manager of the clerk's accounting department.

The clerk's office has gotten numerous complaints from citizens who have said the fees are too high and it takes too long to fight the tickets. The tickets are issued to the owner of the car, and not necessarily the person who was driving. Fighting the citation can take up to 90 days, and in that time, the fine jumps from $158 to $264.  Wilson added that the ticketing process does not follow that of a traditional citation.

"It doesn't follow the same process where an officer pulls you over. The officer explains why they're pulling you over. The first knowledge you have of the violation is when you get it in the mail," Wilson said.  City attorneys for several of the municipalities are reviewing the clerk's letter. Clearwater mayor George Cretekos opposed the implementation of red light cameras in his town.

"We think we're doing ok with some of the concerns that the clerk had, but we're reviewing that just to make sure," Cretekos said.  The clerk's office hasn't heard back from any of the cities yet, as to whether they'd be willing to implement a moratorium on red light camera tickets. Burke would also like the Florida League of Cities to look at the statute and possibly go back through the legislative process to review its fairness.

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