Thursday, 19 May 2011 10:58
Landrieu Proposes Ordinance To Fix New Orleans Traffic Camera Appeals Process
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The almost universally unpopular red light traffic camera in New Orleans could be taking another hit.

Today, the New Orleans City Council, at the request of the Landrieu administration, will introduce an ordinance calling for reviews of administrative decisions of violations of the Automated Traffic Enforcement System to be filed in the City of New Orleans Traffic Court. Currently, appeals of administrative decisions of violations are handled by Civil District Court. The move to Traffic Court will improve access to and reduce the costs of such appeals for residents as the petition in Traffic Court comes with no initial cost. A $10 court cost could be added if the Traffic Court finds the appellant liable for the violation. The cost and limited access for appeals in Civil District Court was brought to the attention of the Landrieu administration by state Rep. Jeff Arnold (D- Algiers).   

"Rep. Arnold has been a steadfast advocate for due process rights for those accused of an automated traffic camera violation," said Mayor Landrieu. "We are appreciative of him bringing this matter to our attention.  The move to Traffic Court will allow residents to have a venue to make their case before an elected judge. It will also be more accessible since the fees associated with filing in Traffic Court are considerably less." 

The decision of the administrative hearings officer will still be the final decision on behalf of the City. However, the ordinance if passed will allow a person aggrieved by the City's decision to file a petition for judicial review in Traffic Court within 30 days after the date of the administrative hearing decision.   

"I am thankful to the Mayor and to the City Council for considering this matter," said Arnold. "My main concern is that residents have an impartial way to appeal decisions made by these cameras and this ordinance addresses and fixes the problem in the current process." 

City Council President Jacquelyn Brechtel Clarkson, who will sponsor the ordinance on behalf of the administration, said, "I fully agree with this because it removes the complaint of not giving due process.  Now we can go on with traffic cameras that will continue to change driving habits for a safer city." 

"Since their inception in April 2008, red-light violations have decreased by 91 percent at intersections where enforcement cameras are present," said Mayor Landrieu. "The statistics for speeding are even more compelling as speeding violations where cameras are present have decreased 95 percent.  Traffic cameras have been an important deterrent for unlawful traffic practices in New Orleans and are making our streets safer." 

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