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Redflex files suit

A suit filed last week over a new state law regarding red-light cameras has hit home for Farragut.

Monday, Nov. 14, Farragut’s photo enforcement vendor, Redflex, filed suit over a state law that essentially outlaws red-light camera citations for illegal right turns on red unless right turns have been banned at the intersection entirely.

“Redflex Traffic Systems Monday filed a lawsuit in response to Public Act 425, which has prevented Tennessee cities from operating under the terms of their contracts with Redflex to increase safety on Tennessee roads through photo enforcement,” a statement released Tuesday by Redflex stated.

“Monday’s lawsuit names the city of Farragut, but the focus is Public Act 425, which prevents cities from living up to the terms of an existing contract. Farragut and the nine other cities contracted with Redflex have been placed in a difficult position by the new law,” the statement said.

Redflex has contracts with 10 Tennessee cities. Farragut is the only one named in the suit, which was filed in Knox County Chancery Court.

The state law, Public Act 425, went into effect in July.

As of July 1, Farragut stopped ticketing drivers for illegal right turns on red at a red-light camera.

“Enforcing laws that require drivers to stop before turning right on red is an important part of the overall photo enforcement program,” Redflex’s statement said.

“Pedestrians and bicyclists who are legally in a crosswalk deserve the same protections under the law that is shared by everyone else on the road.”

Town administrator David Smoak said the lawsuit would be handed over to Town attorney Tom Hale, and perhaps Tennessee Municipal League’s law department.

Redflex’s move followed a suit filed last week against the City of Knoxville by its vendor, American Traffic Solutions, Inc., seeking a ruling that Public Act 425 either should not apply to existing contracts — such as Knoxville’s and Farragut’s — or should be ruled unconstitutional because it does.

Farragut’s photo enforcement manager, Ben Harkins said the Town has since seen its citations drop by nearly half since it stopped ticketing illegal right turns on red. Knoxville reportedly has seen its citations drop by almost 90 percent.

“From a statistical standpoint, we’re better off than what they’re reporting in the [News] Sentinel about Knoxville. Ours is about half, or maybe a little more than half, from year to year,” Harkins said.

He considered the discrepancy between Knoxville’s and Farragut’s drops in citations to be because Harkins was perhaps a bit more lenient with “iffy” violations to begin with.

“The right turns are what I scrutinized the most when they came through. They were the only ones where a [technical] violation may have still occurred but I might not have issued a citation,” Harkins said.


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