Duncanville Rejects Change to Red-Light Camera Appeals

City issued more tickets in 2008 than there are residents

The Duncanville City Council rejected Tuesday a councilman's proposal to let drivers ticketed by red-light cameras appeal to a jury.

Councilman Paul Ford took on the red-light cameras after Duncanville issued nearly 44,000 tickets last year, more than the city's entire population.

Duncanville, which has a population of only 38,500, has eight red-light cameras at four intersections. The city issued 43,955 citations in 2008 based on red-light cameras.

Ford said the number of citations is "tremedously excessive."

Anyone who wants to appeal the $75 ticket goes in front of an administrative law judge. They watch the video of the offense together, and then the judge decides to either let the ticket stand or dismiss it.

Texas law lets drivers who are issued citations by police officers to appeal their case in a jury trial.

According to Ford, the Duncanville Police Department only issued 5,848 citations last year.

City officials say Duncanville residents weren't the only people ticketed. The city manager said the city doesn't issue too many citations, noting that more than 80 million cars pass through Duncanville every year.

Residents who drive a lot around the city, such as Deborah Miles, know exactly where all of the cameras are.

"I pretty much know where the main ones are over in my area," Miles said.  "And I try to avoid -- I try to stay on the brakes every time."

Ford said he started receiving complaints from residents about red-light cameras. In many cases, Ford watched the video of the offense the resident complained about.

"These persons were getting citations for making an illegal turn on red when it was clear they were coming to a complete stop and then turning," Ford said.

Ford said he believes there's something wrong with how the cameras determine an offense has occurred. He said the appeals process is also unfair.

"What I propose is to allow persons who get these citations to have jury trials," he said.

But Duncanville resident John Miles said he disagreed.

"I think that's a waste of money -- taxpayer money," Miles said.

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