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Red light runners getting pass to break law, Orange County comptroller says

Random review of 30 violations finds half were dismissed without set guidelines

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – A six-month audit by the office of Orange County Comptroller Phil Diamond found red light violations caught on camera were dismissed at the discretion of a county traffic infraction officer based on the opinion that there were no clearly written guidelines.

According to the audit, only 262 of the 587 dismissed notice of violations were supported by “appropriate justification” for the dismissal.

Diamond told News 6 the evidence exposes a rudimentary flaw in how the evidence is collected and reviewed.

“We feel there should be consistent guidelines that everyone should follow,” Diamond said. "That way no matter which reviewer reviews (the video), you get the same result.”

The audit period spanned from October 2017 through March 2018 and included data collected from all 35 intersections within unincorporated Orange County.

Auditors found traffic officers review the video evidence to ensure the vehicle failed to stop at a red light and the vehicle owner can be identified by the license plate number and vehicle make and model.

Diamond said the officers were not sworn deputies but simply citizens trained to review the video evidence and make a determination if the driver violated the law or not.

“That’s when we discovered that there were no written criteria for people that appeared to run the red light," Diamond said. “That’s why we are recommending that they do create written criteria.”

An interoffice memo from public works director Joseph Kinkel outlined immediate remedies to improve the red light review protocol.

That protocol will include: enhanced classroom instruction, improved review of the accept/reject procedure and developing a better system in issuing and reviewing violations.

Diamond said both Kunkel and Orange County Sheriff John Mina support the revamped standards and written criteria.

The audit sighted national red light running data from 2017 that found 939 fatalities were linked to red light runners, which is more than two people killed every day.

According to the report, 10% or 99 red light fatalities occurred in Florida.

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