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[UPDATE] City Wins Tallahassee Red Light Camera Case

By: TallahasseeReports.com, Lindsey Day, Ashley Mitchem
By: TallahasseeReports.com, Lindsey Day, Ashley Mitchem

[UPDATE] 8-4 -

The City of Tallahassee Release

The City of Tallahassee today received notice that the Leon County Court of the Second Judicial Circuit issued a ruling that denied a motion to dismiss a red light camera violation issued to James T. Twilley. The ruling confirmed that the city has timed its traffic lights in accordance with Florida law and established engineering principles. The decision handed down by Leon County Traffic Magistrate (PDF), Paula M. Sparkman, dated August 3, 2011, denied the motion in which the defendant, Mr. Twilley, admittedly ran the red light but claimed the yellow light was too short and failed to meet minimum standards under Florida Department of Transportation's Traffic Engineering Manual.

At a court hearing that took place on July 13, Assistant City Attorney Rick Courtemanche presented facts along with the testimony of three expert witnesses including two transportation engineers from the city and one from the Florida Department of Transportation. The evidence presented was conclusive and the subsequent ruling verifies that the signal timing calculations that the city uses are consistent with established engineering principals and Florida law.

"Essentially, the ruling in this case confirms that the City of Tallahassee and its traffic engineers have timed traffic signals in accordance with the law, at all signalized intersections including those with red light cameras. This ruling should lay to rest any doubt that citizens may have about the accuracy and integrity in which yellow lights are timed," said Courtemanche.

The city's Red Light Camera Safety Program started on August 1, 2010, and since that time the city has seen major decreases in violations when compared to before the cameras were installed - as great as 90 percent at some intersections. This reduction in violations reinforces the use of red light cameras for public safety. A complete list of monitored intersections and details about the program are available on talgov.com. Drivers who run red lights at monitored intersections will be mailed a Notice of Violation with a $158 fine. To receive updates follow @COTTraffic on Twitter and/or sign up for the city's email subscription service to receive general news releases at Talgov.com.

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[UPDATE] 7-13-11 8:40 PM by Ashley Mitchem--

Todd Twilley says he was fined $140. Although he admits to going through a red light, he wants that charge dismissed.

He says the yellow light in the left turn lane at Killearn Center Blvd. and Capital Circle Northeast is not long enough. Twilley appeared in court for the first time on Wednesday, July 13, 2011.

He represented himself. The Florida Department of Transportation says Twilley's arguments are not valid.

The city of Tallahassee has had red light cameras up at several traffic lights since August 2010.

A ruling will be made on this case on August 5th.

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[UPDATE] 7-11-11 8:40 PM by Lindsey Day--

Todd Twilley adamantly believes that there is fault in Tallahassee's red light camera system. He claims that the yellow light in the left turn lane at Killearn Center Blvd. and Capital Circle Northeast does not last long enough, and does not comply with the DOT Traffic engineering manual.

City Spokesperson Michele Bono disagrees. She says, "We have always followed state requirement on signal timing and people just common sense understand that when you take a left turn you slow down. "

The city recently took action by making what they call a clarification to the red light camera laws. Bono states, "We wanted to be sure that we were doing it absolutely right so we sent a request to the state and said will you clarify that what we're doing is correct."

The Florida Department of Transportation states that "Recently, it has been brought to our attention that there may be some confusion or misinterpretation of the requirements...It was never the Department's intention that the 85th percentile speed or the posted speed of the through lanes be used to calculate the yellow change interval time for an adjacent turn lane."

Twilley claims the Department is changing the rule- not clarifying it. He's hoping a judge will rule that he and others who got a ticket in the left turn lane with a shorter yellow light can get their money back.

Todd Twilley has agreed to speak to us on camera tomorrow before he takes his case to court. Todd Twilley and the city of Tallahassee will go before a judge Wednesday afternoon.

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When you were growing up didn’t you hate the kids that changed the rules of the game when they were losing? Usually those kids were the bullies and you had to accept it and move on!

But as adults you would think we would have outgrown such behavior. Maybe we have, but somebody at the City of Tallahassee has not!

Tallahassean Todd Twilley recently challenged his red light camera ticket in the local court based on a Florida Department of Transportation rule that stated the timing of the yellow light he was charged with running should have been longer. The City of Tallahassee has been issuing red light camera tickets using shorter yellow lights for turn lanes than thru lanes.

Read more here.


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