ORLANDO, Fla. - A judge ruled today that Orlando's system of ticketing red light-runners caught by automated cameras violates state law, raising the possibility of refunds for the tens of thousands of people ticketed by the city over the past two years.
Orange Circuit Judge Frederick Lauten ruled that the city did not have the power to use cameras to ticket drivers who run red lights because that authority is reserved for the state.
"Although the court believes the city's articulated goal is laudable - increasing public safety by reducing red light-running - the challenged city ordinance intrudes on an area of law reserved to the state is therefore invalid," Lauten writes in a ruling issued Monday.
If a judge made a similar ruling in Collier, the county would have to pay back more than $2 million.
In February, a Miami judge also ruled against the cameras. Some motorists in Collier say the cameras are needed to keep people safe.
"I think he should allow them to continue," said motorist, Michael Ruberto.
"it is saving lives," said Leanne Megesi. "It is helping people stop and think."
Collier County has issued more than 34 thousand citations since the program began in 2009. Many drivers say it is just a money making scheme.
"I'm sure there's some good about it but for me that was not good," said one motorist, who got a citation in Sarasota County.
Now, the question is will a Collier County judge rule for the program, or give it the red light?
Orlando officials would offer no comment until they reviewed the ruling, but the city is almost certain to appeal.