Clermont recalls 2,400 controversial red-light camera tickets



The city of Clermont has decided to throw out nearly 2,400 controversial red-light camera tickets, and officials are prepared to send back an estimated $8,000 in fines for turning right on red.

City officials call it a learning curve - dismissing tickets for a number of drivers along State Road 50.

The tickets were for those who turned right on a red without stopping, and police were applying the letter of the law.

But after residents complained loudly to city leaders last month, the police department was ordered to take another look at almost 3,000 pieces of video from the camera system that had resulted in tickets.

"We did listen to them, we had the police go back and review all of the videos of the violations and we did something about it. We dismissed a great number of them," said Clermont spokeswoman Doris Bloodsworrth.

Now the city said nearly 80 percent of those tickets are being wiped off the books and more than 50 drivers who've already paid their fines will get their money back.

And the future standard will be less strict, officials said. Those who make right turns on red lights safely without stopping will not get a ticket unless there's a pedestrian in the walkway or another visible safety issue.

"They attempt to brake. They're being careful. There's no one in the crosswalk or no traffic coming, they take all of those factors into the consideration," said Bloodsworrth.

The city is preparing to send back about $8,000 in collected fines.

The police department has made one more change;: Instead of having a variety of officers checking the red-light camera videos, one officer will handle the job to apply the violations more consistently.