Red Light Cameras Making Millions, Most Going Out of State

By: Jim Freeman Email
By: Jim Freeman Email

Knoxville (WVLT) - Almost two million dollars won't be spent in Knoxville this holiday season, because it's being paid out in fines by those who broke the city's red light camera laws.

And more than a million of those dollars is going out-of-state.

Volunteer TV's Jim Freeman has the details.

Crashes are down and collections are up.

"Well, it's first and foremost, safety is an issue," said Knoxville City Councilman Rob Frost.

Knoxville's first red light camera went up about a year and a half ago.

"Revenue is the last thing on the mind of the city council when we studied the issue," said Barbara Pelot, Knoxville City councilwoman. "It wasn't about revenue. It was really about lives."

So far this year, revenues are in the millions.

From January through September, the total collections are almost $2 million dollars.

The red light cam company, Arizona-based RedFlex, gets more than a million dollars of that.

While the city of knoxville receives just under 800-thousand dollars which is less than half total collections.

No matter how you break it down, breaking a red light camera law leaves you at least $50 dollars short for other things.

And at this time of year, that may be holiday spending.

"That may well be true in one point of view, but if someone has a serious accident and a serious injury, fifty dollars is a minor, minor reminder," said councilwoman Pelot.

"Yes, it'd be fifty dollars less for the stores, restaurants," said holiday shopper Jane Johannes. "Wouldn't probably get to do lunch out as much, and it makes me more cautious."

"The fifty bucks didn't hurt so much, but I don't want to do another fifty bucks. So, I'm very careful not to repeat my mistake," said shopper Leila Hungerford.

And you don't have to look too far to find someone who's been photographed.

"It was my car without a doubt, my license tag, my name as the owner of the car, but one of my granddaughters was driving that car," said councilwoman Pelot.

So far this year, the red light cam at Lovell Road and I-40 far and away leads the list of total incidents at more than 10,000.

Last on the list is Henley and Cumberland intersection at 999 incidents.

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