North Texas cities plan to carefully review tickets issued by red-light cameras during last week’s winter storm so that drivers will not receive citations if the bad weather left them with no other choice.
Some motorists have worried about receiving tickets in the mail – even though icy conditions essentially forced them to run red lights.
Others were stuck in intersections after the light turned red.
"I think they should cut some slack to everyone," said one woman outside Fort Worth’s municipal court.
"We're going to try to be as fair as possible," said city of Fort Worth spokesman Bill Begley. "We're not going to take advantage. The whole idea is public safety and if it meant that stopping was going to compromise that, then, you know, we want you to be safe."
He said tickets would not be dismissed automatically but stressed that each instance is reviewed separately.
Red light cameras record each violation on video in addition to snapping photos of offenders’ license plates.
"If there is a violation on the camera, it goes through a review process," he said. "If the reviewer sees that the driver made every attempt to try to stop and be safe, and elements kept them from doing that, then that'll be reviewed, it'll be considered, and it could be dismissed."
Arlington police spokeswoman Tiara Ellis Richard issued a similar written statement.
"If it’s apparent that the driver was unable to stop because of bad weather, then every effort is made to not issue a citation," she said. "But if one is issued, that person obviously has the option of contesting and requesting an hearing to appeal."
Other cities also offer drivers the opportunity to appeal citations they don’t believe were justified, and judges can review the video evidence.