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9 Investigates: Red light camera ticket fines not same for all drivers

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ORLANDO, Fla. - 9 Investigates uncovered more proof that shows the punishment for running a red light isn't the same for all drivers.

Earlier this month, Channel 9 reported out-of-state drivers don't always face license suspensions when they don't pay the fine. Now, Channel 9's Vanessa Welch has learned there's a good chance someone driving a company car won't be punished for not paying the fine, either.

Ken Cohen works at a screen-printing shop and is lucky to drive a company car. When he got two red light tickets, his boss made him pay for them.

"He didn't make any bones about it," said Cohen.

But 9 Investigates learned plenty of companies are not paying. Welch sorted through hundreds of records from the Orange County clerk and discovered more than 1,000 businesses owe nearly $500,000 for running red lights.

"As a small business owner, it's impacted us," said Mark Bordeau, who owns Bordeau's plumbing in Apopka.

Bordeau said his employees are running the red lights and he told 9 Investigates he tried to pay the fines using PayPal but the city didn't take the money in time and it was refunded, so he still owes nearly $2,000 in fines.

It's a small number compared to some big-name companies with outstanding tickets.

Rental car companies are the top offenders, with Hertz and Avis owing more than $20,000 each. Enterprise owes nearly $11,000.

9 Investigates found other big-name companies like Lowes, Coca-Cola and Staples haven't paid their fines, either.

Some employees get the perk of driving a car they don't pay for and they're not being penalized for running a red light.

Here's why: If a car is registered to a company, the ticket is in the company's name, not the driver's. That means no one's license is suspended for not paying.

"It definitely sounds unfair," said Bordeau.

Business owners have the option of putting the ticket in the driver's name using an affidavit, but they don't always know who was driving the car and not every owner wants to turn in their employees or in Bordeau's case, his father.

"He gets in too much of a hurry," said Bordeau.

As for rental car companies, Hertz told Channel 9 it has a third-party vendor working to collect the fines from drivers who rented their cars and ran lights.

In all, Orange County drivers owe $3.5 million in red light fines dating back to 2010.

Businesses only make up about 13 percent of the outstanding fines.

9 Investigates reviewed crash data two years ago and found red light cameras reduced the number of crashes in Orange County. A recent study done by the county a few weeks ago confirmed those results.