As reported in the December 30, 2008, edition of the TML Legislative Update, those who oppose the use of red light camera systems recently trotted out a novel argument as to why the cameras should not be operating in Texas. Recent lawsuits allege that the Texas law governing private investigators applies to the vendors that operate the systems, and that the law requires a vendor that operates a camera system to obtain a license as a private investigator.

The Private Security Bureau of the Texas Department of Public Safety (which oversees licensing) does not appear to agree with that interpretation because: (1) the city, rather than the vendor, actually secures the evidence (the photograph); (2) the Texas Transportation Code expressly authorizes the use of the systems; and (3) the Private Security Act exempts photographs taken for criminal justice purposes on behalf of a governmental entity.

One of those lawsuits, Steven Bell, TXPS, Inc., and Mohammed Al Musa on behalf of others similarly situated v. Redflex Traffic Systems, Inc., involving notices of violation issued by Plano and Duncanville, was dismissed last week on procedural grounds by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.

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