9 Investigates new red-light cameras in Orlando

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — There is a higher chance drivers will get caught running a red-light camera in Orlando.

The city activated seven new cameras since the summer at three new intersections, including at LB McLeod Road and Bruton Boulevard. The camera was activated in July and has since issued more than 900 tickets to drivers.

Channel 9’s Racquel Asa discovered the cameras, which are located not far from the First Baptist Church of Orlando, were not following new state guidelines before they were activated.

A directive from the Florida Department of Transportation outlined that all new red-light cameras activated after Jan. 1, 2015 require a second notification for drivers that they are entering a red-light camera intersection. Eyewitness News discovered a sign that is supposed to read "Photo Enforced" was not hanging next to the traffic lights until Oct. 18.

"I would have to say it was an oversight. It was an oversight on our permitting staff. Our FDOT permitting staff and things like that happen,” said Mike Rhodes, who runs the red-light camera program for the city of Orlando.

Asa asked Rhodes if the city would toss the tickets out.

“We don't have to, number one. It's an element of notice, and there are lots of other notice opportunities,” Rhodes said.

The city of Orlando installed only one state required red-light camera sign on the sidewalk before the cameras were activated. However, the new state rules call for two warnings; one on the sidewalk before the intersection and another to be hung by the traffic lights.

“Those tickets should be dismissed, because they failed to comply with the specific mandates of the Florida Department of Transportation,” said Brian Sandor, a traffic attorney with The Ticket Clinic.

WFTV legal analyst and former Orange County Chief Circuit Judge Belvin Perry said drivers who haven’t paid should fight the tickets.

“By not following the law to the letter, they are setting a bad example,” said Perry. “I would probably lean towards throwing them out. You have to follow the law in order to enforce the law.”

City officials told Eyewitness News that if a driver believes he or she received a ticket in error, it can be contested in a hearing, but it’s up to the hearing officer to decide on whether the ticket should be tossed.

Eyewitness News also checked the red-light camera programs in Central Florida and found no similar problems. Other programs were activated before the new state signage rules were put into effect on Jan. 1, 2015.

If you have a red-light camera ticket you would like Racquel Asa to look at, you can email her at Racquel.Asa@wftv.com.