Lawmaker Burns Traffic Camera Ticket in Viral Video

Urges constituents to do the same
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 27, 2016 2:15 PM CDT

Not a fan of traffic cameras? You have at least one lawmaker passionately on your side, the Knoxville News Sentinel reports. Tennessee state Rep. Andy Holt recently got a "photo enforcement citation" after being caught on one of the cameras, and in a video that's gotten more than 400,000 Facebook views since he posted it Wednesday, he set the ticket on fire. "What to do if you get one? Throw it in the trash. Personally, I prefer to burn mine," Holt says in an accompanying blog post. Holt's argument is that the tickets are issued "to increase revenue, not to increase safety," that it's not a real citation if it's not issued by a police officer in person, and that the citations aren't legally valid since the person being ticketed wasn't actually convicted of an offense.

In the video and follow-up Facebook posts, he adds that because ticketed drivers weren't actually convicted of anything, they aren't legally obligated to pay the penalty, and that if they don't pay, nothing bad will happen to their credit score, car insurance rates, or driving record. (Holt, the News Sentinel notes, sponsored a recently-passed bill that requires traffic camera tickets to include a notice saying just that.) So how does the local police chief feel about all this? "No one likes to be caught violating traffic offenses, regardless of how they are caught, but they have a legal obligation to properly address it," he says, adding that since the citations are considered a civil penalty, non-payment could result in the same collection efforts that come with any unpaid debt. Another Tennessee lawmaker tells WATE he suspects that if an unpaid ticket were to go to collections, it would indeed impact a person's credit score. (More Tennessee stories.)

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