Motorists who rack up substantial fines for speeding and red-light running via citations issued through the SafeLight/SafeSpeed program could face a tougher, more determined-to-collect Lafayette Consolidated Government in the near future. The City-Parish Council will vote Tuesday on an ordinance that amends and clarifies the city code for collections of outstanding fines. The ordinance would also move oversight of the program from the Traffic & Transportation Department to the chief of police.
More than $6 million in outstanding fines is owed to LCG, The Advocate reports, citing a presentation this spring by the Traffic Department. LCG has always had the authority to bring people to court to collect fines as well as to refer them to collection agencies. The ordinance before the council delineates a clear protocol. It also removes booting vehicles as recourse, although consolidated government has never exercised that option.
According to the ordinance up for final adoption Tuesday, delinquent fines of $125 or more that have been due for four months or more will first be referred to a collection agency. If the collection agency is unable to collect the fine within an additional 120 days, LCG can exercise the option of pressing for collection in court. (It’s unlikely consolidated government would exercise the court option for people with outstanding fines at the lower end of the threshold as the cost of city-parish attorney fees would exceed the amount collected. Some repeat offenders of the SafeLight/SafeSpeed program, however, owe hundreds and even thousands of dollars.)
There are currently 12 signalled intersections, all within the city limits of Lafayette, equipped with the Redflex cameras. The Durel administration beat back a push to end LCG’s contract with the company — a move that would have shuttered the red-light cameras and speed vans — last spring.
The ordinance was passed unanimously as an introductory item on July 3. To read the ordinance and its associated documentation — all 127 pages — click here.