Friday, October 30, 2009

Houston Wants it Both Ways

Apparently the City of Houston wants it both ways.

First of all, the city goes to the state legislature to make running a red light a civil infraction rather than a criminal one. The purpose of this is to reduce the level of proof in order to issue citations to generate revenue. The plan gets enacted and the citations are practically flying through the mail. Also ticketed are emergency workers (i.e. police, firefighters, and EMTs). I'm not talking about the emergency vehicle operators who ran red lights with no cause. I'm referring to the instances where emergency vehicles were cited for running the red lights while running priority calls. The citation would arrive at the agency owning the vehicle and more often than not the operator would have to pay the citation or challenge it on their own time. This was annoying to emergency workers who said in frustration they would quit running emergency traffic to life threatening calls out of fear of getting a red light citation from the city of Houston. This year the state legislature slapped Houston by passing legislation that forbade red light citations to the owners of emergency vehicles (however they can still send notice to the agency and let them deal with the matter internally).

For the past couple of years, the city of Houston has been trying to work a deal with Harris County to block the registration of vehicles with outstanding red light violations. What many people probably didn't know until this article came out was that there are outstanding toll road violations due to city owned vehicles. The city tried to say that the individual operators alone were responsible for the violations. The exact same procedure other agencies used when they got the red light citations. Just like the red light citations, toll violations come into the mail to the registered owner (the city). Sounds like they just passed it off and let the matter lie. How many registered car owners had to appear in municipal court saying they no longer had the vehicle, or let someone else drive it and the judge said no? With this embarrassing little piece the city is now stating they will handle the outstanding fines and better monitor their people. Does this mean they will be more sympathetic to registered vehicle owners who appear in municipal court? Doubt it!

1 comment:

demotutorial said...

They do think that they are above the law, and they really are showing their ignorance. They are the real criminals in this story!

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