Despite Ruling, No Breaks for Red Light Runners

Judge: Company that runs cameras needs private investigator license

A state district judge has ruled against a red light camera supplier, but that doesn't mean red light runners are getting a break.

Dallas attorney Lloyd Warner was driving his wife's car when he got a red light ticket. He filed a federal lawsuit on her behalf against ACS State and Local Solutions, the company that runs red light cameras for the city of Dallas. He said the company doesn't have a private investigator license like it should.

However, the company said that it doesn't need such a license.

"We've taken our cues from DPS, because they are the entities that actually goes out and issues these licenses," said Tracy Wallace, an attorney for ACS.

On Wednesday, Judge Craig Smith stood by his November decision that ACS is in violation of the Texas Occupational Code, but there is still another hearing in mid-February.

Until then, the judge said, the decision has no real legal impact. That means drivers who receive tickets either need to fight them or pay them. 

At the February hearing, the judge will be considering two other issues that ACS is hoping will make the lawsuit go away.

First, whether an individual like Ward can bring this kind of lawsuit and secondly, whether his wife actually sustained any damages.

"It's a hurdle to overcome, but we're confident we'll overcome it," Ward said Wednesday after the hearing.

"The red light camera system that is used by cities and municipalities all over is an appropriate system," Wallace said, defending ACS's position. "I mean, studies show it saves lives."  

After the November ruling, Ward filed two class action lawsuits against other companies that operate red light camera systems in North Texas. He said after Wednesday's hearing, those lawsuits will still stand.

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