Brevard County official calls red light camera fee a 'rip off'

Brevard County official calls red light camera fee a 'rip off'

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A Brevard County official in charge of collecting red light camera fees says red light cameras have little to with safety, but instead have everything to do with making money.

If you don't pay your $158 red light ticket in Brevard County, the citation then goes to the Clerk of Courts Office, where state law requires Scott Ellis to up your fine to $267, and collect it.

"I think they are a rip off," he said.

You read that correctly.  Although it's Ellis' job to collect late red light ticket revenue, he doesn't have to agree that it's right.  In fact, he calls it a money grab by the cities that install them.

"They deliberately select intersections with high traffic counts that have nothing to do with accidents or safety."

Currently Cocoa Beach and Palm Bay are the only cities in Brevard County with red light cameras. Ellis says they are making hundreds of thousand of dollars off of them, but it's debatable whether it actually makes the intersection safer.

"They makes $75 a ticket. If it's all about safety, then have them donate that money to charitable purposes and not city coffers."

The City of Melbourne has an application in to add two red light cameras to U.S. Hwy. 1 at Eau Gallie and one at U.S. Hwy 192.    The accident rate is far lower there than intersections on Wickham Road, but the city says it can't put cameras on Wickham, because it's a county road.

Ellis says the law needs to be changed.

"The legislature originally went up there to ban the red light cameras, and they lost their backbone. They need to get some iron up their backbone, and get rid of these things."

But if that doesn't happen, Brevard's Clerk of Courts has some interesting advice for drivers.

"Pretty much the only thing you can do is boycott the areas where the cameras are."

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