Are they legal are they not? Are they in the best interest of traffic safety or are they a money grab by local governments? The use of red light cameras has raised these issues in just about every community they have been installed.

A judge in New Orleans has ordered the city to repay almost $28 million in fines collected on red light camera violations between the years of 2008 and 2011. It is estimated that some 250,000  motorists will be getting money back from the city if the ruling is upheld.

In the case in New Orleans, the judge who was in charge of the proceedings ruled that the cameras were a violation of the Home Rule Charter because the enforcement of camera violations was being handled by the Department of Public Works. That enforcement has since been transferred to the New Orleans Police Department.

What does a ruling like this mean for motorists in other Louisiana communities that have or used to have automated camera cops? To be honest, we're not exactly sure. In Lafayette, the cameras were turned off when the contract with Redflex, the provider of the cameras was terminated.

Still, there are a lot of people that might have fines still on the books, have paid fines, or ignored fines that wouldn't mind knowing the legitimacy of the camera violations. My suspicion is the litigation from New Orleans will refuel legal fires over the cameras and the money they have generated during the new year.



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