The City of Tamarac, Fla., has set up a red-light camera across from a local hospital to photograph and ticket motorists who are rushing to the ER with an emergency.
People with real medical emergencies have had their tickets upheld by a local magistrate, whose salary comes from city income such as ticketing.
“I really couldn’t breathe, I was sweating, just a lot of things going on,” motorist Jacob Alcahe told Local 10. “I was just kind of scared and I wanted to get to the hospital as soon as possible."
Alcahe soon received a $158 ticket in the mail for running the red light at the hospital’s entrance.
Back in February, Shelley Rappaport was suffering a kidney stone attack, ran the same light to get to the ER and was ticketed.
She challenge the violation at city hall, but lost.
"I had all expectations that it was going to be thrown out," she told ClickOrlando.com. "It was literally a life-or-death situation."
However, Tamarac Mayor Harry Dressler defended the ticketing outside the ER.
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“The city is not condoning anything,” Dressler told Local 10. “Neither are we preying on anyone.”
When asked if people should wait for a green light during an emergency when they're having trouble breathing, Dressler refused to answer.
“Okay, it’s two minutes before my meeting," Dressler stated. "You’re going to have to excuse me. Please tell your viewers it’s illegal and it’s dangerous."
"The person that's acting as the judge is paid by Tamarac," Fort Lauderdale ticket attorney Ted Hollander countered. "Tamarac is the same city that's giving the ticket so why wouldn't that person say, of course, Tamarac gets the money?"
By its own count, the City of Tamarac has issued 494 red-light violations at the intersection since the camera was turned on in August 2013.