Kissimmee could place $20K red-light camera citation hearing room

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KISSIMMEE, Fla. —

Kissimmee city leaders said they want to place a mobile hearing room just for red-light camera citations.

Red-light light cameras in Kissimmee have caught scary moments on the road like T-bone crashes and a near-miss that almost cost a pedestrian his life.

They've also taught drivers that ignoring red can come with a price: a $158 ticket.

"There are people who doesn't stop so that makes people think about it before running the red light," said driver Denize Dulzaides.

In the last nine months, Kissimmee has issued more than 22,000 red light camera citations.

"It's sad that sometimes you got to reach into people's pockets to get them to learn how to drive," said Kissimmee Mayor Jim Swan.

Swan and other city leaders want to give violators a new, easy way to fight their citations.

The city plans to spend up to $20,000 on a mobile hearing room that will let drivers appear before a hearing officer to go over the ticket.

"If people wish to challenge the ticket the law has been changed to give them an avenue in which to challenge that ticket," Swan said.

That hearing room would be set up in commission chambers and consist of a mobile table and chairs with a computer and telephone.

Some drivers like the idea of getting a fair shot to argue their case.

"You get caught between the lights and that's reasonable that you get a chance to give an explanation for that," driver Hector Lopez said.

Other cities and towns will likely follow suit in the coming months because a new state amendment requires challenges to be heard by a hearing officer.

Kissimmee leaders must approve spending $20,000 on the mobile hearing room.

They'll discuss it at a commission meeting Tuesday.

The 22,000 citations, if all paid could bring in $3.5 million for the city, state and company that runs the cameras.