Recently, the Orlando Sentinel and Fox 35 reported about a red light photo enforcement scam run by Orange County in Florida. We’ve already shared a number of examples of the photo enforcement scam, such as how government employees skirt photo enforcement tickets while private citizens generally cannot, how courts deny your constitutional rights in photo enforcement cases, and how Paradise Valley shortened the yellow light duration to generate more tickets. Now we have another story about how Orange County in Florida shortened yellow light duration to generate more tickets. Just like Paradise Valley, Orange County’s photo enforcement scam involved shaving .3 seconds off of the time the yellow light was illuminated. .3 seconds may not sound like much, but it makes a significant difference to a driver’s response time, especially when lights at other intersections are properly timed. Drivers expect uniformity in light timing, and that’s what these scammers are counting on. By shortening the duration of some yellow lights, these governmental entities are able to steal drivers’ money for “traffic violations” that would not be violations but for these photo enforcement scams.
Orange County, with its greed for drivers’ money still unsatisfied, will not simply refund its ill-gotten gains. Instead, Orange County will mail requests for refunds to the drivers who were wrongfully ticketed. The drivers then need to complete and return the request form before a refund will be issued. The goal is no doubt to increase the complexity and effort required to get a refund to such an extent that drivers either make their requests improperly thereby denying them a refund, or that drivers simply do not make a request for a refund. After all, Orange County is faced with having to return upwards of $90,000, and if there’s one thing governments hate, it’s returning stolen money.
The Florida DOT rules call for a 4.3 second yellow light in 40 mph zones. The photo enforcement scam perpetrated by Orange County shortened the yellow light to 4.0 seconds, the same thing that Paradise Valley did. It is worth noting that the city of Tucson has no lights properly timed at 4.3 seconds for 40 mph zones — they are all less.