CALGARY- A loophole in the photo radar system has left some drivers stuck with tickets they shouldn’t have received.
Calgary’s Kirby Cox was unlucky enough to receive a $287 red light photo radar ticket in the mail. He knew right away that it was a mistake—since he doesn’t own a grey pickup truck.
It turns out an officer misread one letter on the license plate, which is why the ticket was sent to Cox instead of the offending driver. Administrators told him not to worry about the ticket, but two months later he received a conviction notice. Again, they told him not to pay it, but when Cox tried to register his vehicle the ticket still hadn’t been cancelled.
“I had to go up three individuals, three management levels to finally get somebody to say ‘OK, this isn’t proper,’” Cox complains. “They ran it through the courts yesterday afternoon and they finally got me a release for what I was asking for.”
After Global News contacted the Calgary Police Service, they admitted that there is a problem with their procedures.
“This gentleman identified a gap in our system where basically the consumer or individual who received the ticket was directed to an area he shouldn’t have been directed to,” explains Insp. Dean LeGrange from the Traffic Unit.
As a result, they’ve added a line under the photo on tickets that lists a direct number to the Traffic Unit to correct license plate mistakes.
“We have now adjusted the templates and the notices that go out to the public, so that we can reduce these errors and treat them on a one-on-one basis.”
Traffic ticket experts add it’s also important to get changes in writing.
“Don’t rely on making phone calls, because a lot of time the person you talk to on the phone may be totally out of the chain that deals with that particular thing,” says Charlie Pester from Points Traffic Ticket Specialists.
Out of 200,000 red light tickets, police have only been notified about 170 license plate mistakes.