A judge dismissed two lawsuits that could have forced the cities of Chattanooga and Red Bank, Tenn. to pay back millions in traffic camera fines.
"The Tennessee Legislature has granted its municipalities broad authority, in the form of police power, to regulate traffic," Hamilton County Chancellor Frank Brown wrote in a 12-page ruling. "A municipality has the primary responsibility for enforcing traffic regulations within their city limits as it deems proper."
Plaintiffs in the lawsuits, which sought up to $10 million from both cities, had argued that traffic cameras in Chattanooga and Red Bank unlawfully existed before the state Legislature allowed the use of cameras in 2008. Vehicle owners must pay a $50 fine for infractions captured by the cameras.
But attorneys for Red Bank and Chattanooga argued they didn't need approval to use a different method to enforce traffic law. "[The chancellor] reached the correct opinion, that the cities did have those authorities," Red Bank City Attorney Arnold Stulce said. "There was nothing about the speeding camera ordinance that conflicted with state laws."
Red Bank, which started using traffic cameras in 2006, has three sets of the devices. Chattanooga, which started using cameras in 2007, has eight red-light cameras and 10 speeding cameras.