Director, Public and Government Affairs, DE
Sr. Public Aff. Specialist, CT/DE/NJ/PA
O: (302) 299-4168
C: (610) 291-7312
WILMINGTON, DE (March 21, 2017) -- Today, the city of Wilmington announced its suspension of camera use to ticket drivers for right-turns-on-red-lights and would be refunding fines collected since July 1, 2016. Cathy Rossi, Vice President of Public & Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic, issued the following statement in response:
"The announcement today by Wilmington Mayor Michael Purzycki demonstrates remarkable leadership, goodwill to motorists and a clear commitment to responsible government. AAA supports the use of red light camera enforcement at intersections where public safety is a proven risk and we are committed to working with the Purzycki administration to improve traffic safety in the city."
(Release from Mayor Purzycki included below)
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Wilmington, DE 19801
AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 57 million members nationwide and more than 140,000 members in Delaware. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. The not-for-profit, fully tax-paying member organization works on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit www.AAA.com.
Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Wilmington to Refund Over $800,000 in Fines And Has
Suspended Its Right-Turn-on-Red Camera Safety Program
Mayor Purzycki said right turn citations issued between July 1, 2016 and January 11, 2017 under the City’s Camera Safety Program have been voided and no additional citations have been issued
Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki announced today that the City’s Right-Turn-on-Red Camera Safety Program has been suspended indefinitely. The Mayor said the City will begin next week to refund over $800,000 in fines to the owners of more than 6,700 vehicles who received and paid one or more citations between July 1, 2016 and January 11, 2017. The Mayor said the City is also notifying, beginning this week, another 2,500 vehicle owners to inform them that the citation their vehicle received during that period has been voided, and they do not need to pay their fine.
City Finance Director Patrick Carter said the City has already identified all of the vehicles that were cited during the period in question, so there is no reason for citizens to call the City about the refund. The owners of all affected vehicles will be notified by mail.
Mayor Purzycki said the reason he suspended the Right-Turn-on-Red Camera Safety Program effective January 11 and has now ordered that refunds be issued stems from action taken last summer by the Delaware General Assembly. He said in the closing days of the session, epilogue language was added to the State’s Bond Bill providing that jurisdictions operating camera safety programs such as Wilmington’s could only issue right turn on red violations if there is safety and crash data to support it as determined by the state’s Department of Transportation.
Mayor Purzycki said when he learned in early January that the General Assembly had added specific language that directly impacted the City’s program, he immediately directed that the issuance of citations be suspended as of January 11. He said the City’s Finance Department then began the process of identifying the more than 9,300 vehicles that had been cited during those six months or so, and determining which of them had paid their fines and which had not.
Regardless of the intent behind the new law, the language enacted by the General Assembly raises substantial questions regarding the enforceability of Wilmington’s camera based right turn on red program. “We chose the prudent and fair approach of suspending enforcement until the statute is clarified,”said the Mayor.
The Mayor cited the loss of the revenue from the program as a factor in the City’s current and extended budget deficit woes that caused him last week to recommend the elimination of 29 government positions as well as a property tax increase.