New red light cameras in one Lake County city seem to be having some unintended consequences for people turning right on red.
City Manager Darren Gray is presenting findings to the council Tuesday night, which could decide to get rid of them just a month into the program.
When Clermont installed red light cameras at the beginning of the year, these are the types of violations they expected to see. But at the last city council meeting, the councilman who worked for the past eight years to bring them to the city, said he was unhappy at who was actually getting the tickets.
In the 40 days they’ve been in operation, more than 3,086 citations have been issued, with 2,721 of them were for people making illegal right turns.
“(When) my husband got tickets, he was surprised, didn’t realize he had done anything wrong. He actually called the department to find out what he had done wrong,” Jennifer Paez said.
Paez’s husband was hardly alone in his complaints.
When asked how these cameras work, Clermont Police Capt. Michael McMaster reviewed a video showing the moments before and after the flash of a camera.
“It’s obvious in this situation the vehicle didn’t come to a complete stop. You can see the vehicle continues to roll, and then we determine whether the vehicle made the right turn in a careful and prudent manner,” McMaster said.
"Careful and prudent" is where a lot of the confusion comes in. McMaster said unlike an officer on the street, the trained code enforcement officer has only the video to work with.
More than 2,000 of the right on red tickets were at State Road 50 and Hancock Road where drivers have a dedicated lane to make right hand turns.
People who received those tickets are now left seeing red. Meanwhile, the city manager recently got back from a meeting with the company decides whether to go forward with 18 more cameras set to be installed.
Tickets cost drivers $158. Clermont Councilman Keith Mullins pointed out the city gets only one-third of the money and also has to pay to lease the cameras, which could eventually cost the city more than $1 million per year.