NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A Facebook video of a west Tennessee lawmaker burning traffic camera citations has been reached by more than 1.3 million people.
Rep. Andy Holt (R – Dresden) said he’s received multiple photo-enforced traffic tickets in the mail.
On Wednesday he said he used Facebook Live as a platform to burn those tickets in front of thousands of people.
He said he encourages anyone else who is mailed a traffic camera violation ticket to do the same.
Holt said cameras are an inappropriate way for towns and cities to increase revenue, and they can’t prove who is driving during a traffic offense.
“If there’s an extra constitutional way that that money has been usurped from me, I don’t feel like I owe it,” Rep. Holt said.
He said the companies that operate those cameras on behalf of towns and cities don’t have any right to come after you for that civil penalty.
State law said the non-payment of traffic camera tickets cannot adversely affect your credit score or report, driver’s license, or automobile insurance rates.
But, if the municipality where the offense occurred chooses, it can take someone to court over the outstanding debt.
David Anthony, a partner at Bone McAllester Norton law firm in Nashville, said he would advise a client not to listen to Holt if they received a ticket in the mail.
“More than likely I’m going to tell you to pay it,” said Anthony.
Anthony said it may not be likely for a municipality to sue someone for a $50 ticket, but it’s possible.
“We are dealing with a Tennessee state statute that specifically authorizes use of these cameras,” Anthony said. “And for him to say, ‘burn these, don’t respond to these,’ it’s reckless.”
Rep. Holt has outstanding traffic camera fines in at least two West Tennessee towns: McKenzie and Medina. But unless he’s taken to court, he has no plans to pay them.