8/29/2005Minneapolis Red Light Cameras Nab More Innocent Drivers
Additional evidence that the new red light cameras in Minneapolis, Minnesota are ticketing people who never ran a red light.
A local television station in Minneapolis, Minnesota has uncovered another flaw with the city's problem-plagued red light camera program. Database problems could mean hundreds of individuals will receive tickets for offenses they did not commit, putting them in the difficult position of proving their own innocence.
Drivers can receive tickets for offenses committed as much as two months after they have been sold to new owners because of a long-standing backlog with the state's car title database. Resident Mike Gehling, for example, received a $142 red light camera ticket in the mail for an incident that took place six weeks after he had sold the car in the photograph. Although the database problem has been around since 2001, it has not been fixed. Statewide, the backlog affects as many as 250,000 people
Since July, Minneapolis television reporters have been holding the city's new red light camera program to the fire. Instead of just accepting the standard safety claims from public officials, they've found: police running red lights, tickets sent to the wrong driver in a photograph, and people ticketed who were never in the intersection on red.
Despite the well-publicized problems, the city's website offers no advice for innocent individuals "caught" by the cameras. According to the site's frequently asked questions, "If a vehicle owner provides police with the name of the person who was driving the vehicle, the ticket may be re-issued to that person."
Someone who sells a car would have no way of knowing who might be driving a car he no longer owns.