Thursday, July 15, 2010

It could always be worse

So you think a $75 fine for running a red-light camera is a swift kick to the bank account? Well, it's certainly not loose change in the couch, no doubt about that, but it could be a lot, lot, I mean, a lot worse.

In response to my column on Wednesday regarding the nearly two-year data the city of Amarillo released on red-light cameras, I got an e-mail from an old friend who now lives in Southern California near San Diego.

"I just had to comment on your 'View on Cameras,'" she wrote. "I'm about to write a check for my first red-light offense here in Southern California that will make Texas' $75 fine look wonderful. My ticket is for $494, yes, four-hundred-ninety-four dollars."

By my math, that's $6 shy of $500, or 6 1/2 times what an offense in Amarillo is.

"Thank goodness," she wrote, "I wasn't talking on the cell phone, too, which is against the law here -- only hands-free allowed. Who knows what they would have got me for! Needless to say, it's one of those checks that gets my goat and I refuse to drive down that street again, much less spend future money in the town were the camera is located. Living in beautiful Southern California comes at a cost."

I'm telling you, if fines for running a red-light camera were anything like that in Texas, there would be rioting in the streets. If you think there's controversy about them now, just imagine someone being forced to pay $494.

Put it this way: lawyers would be busy.

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