9/4/2008Tennessee: Redflex Misses Camera Contract Deadline
Redflex loses $5 million red light camera contract because it failed to send a contract extension to Knoxville, Tennessee on time.
An Australian red light camera operator lost the ability to issue tickets in Knoxville, Tennessee because it failed to send the required documents to the city on time. The Knoxville News Sentinel reports that officials have flatly refused to consider renewing a multi-million dollar contract with Redflex because the company did not properly file paperwork by July 31.
"They busted the deadline," city purchasing agent Boyce Evans told the Knoxville News. "I was very surprised. … Redflex knew that was going to be due before anybody."
In May 2006 the Melbourne-based company first installed the red light camera network that now covers fifteen Knoxville intersections. The devices last year generated $2,599,732 in revenue, with Redflex pocketing over sixty percent of the annual take. Because the original contract will expire on November 8, the city gave Redflex until July 31 to submit a proposal for a three-year extension that included a few revisions that the city wanted to make. Redflex blamed FedEx for delivering the package on August 1, while FedEx apologized for an unexpected problem in getting the package delivered.
"Unfortunately, the FedEx vehicle transporting the shipment from our facility to our Los Angeles sort facility arrived later than scheduled and missed the outbound flight," a FedEx customer relations employee wrote to Redflex. "Regrettably, efforts to expedite the shipment have been unsuccessful."
FedEx will refund the shipping cost of just over $30, which is scant consolation to the Australian company that lost the opportunity to take $5 million from Tennessee drivers. Some of these drivers themselves have claimed to be unfairly treated by the Redflex cameras. In 2006, a judge tossed out a red light camera ticket issued to an innocent man because the Redflex camera misread his license plate. Although victorious, the motorist was not compensated after losing $160 in wages to defend himself against the $50 citation. An even more blatant error was uncovered when a man was ticketed for stopping at a red light by the camera in February 2007. Another ticket in May 2007 accused the owner of a BMW convertible of running a red light in a pickup truck that she had never seen in her life.
Georgia-based Lasercraft and Germany's Traffipax both succeeded in ensuring their bids arrived on time and the city will choose which of the two it prefers to take over the program.