Speed camera settlement includes $20 refunds

News

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Drivers who were cited by Providence’s speed cameras on or before April 15 will receive an automatic $20 refund or reduction in their fines. 

According to a settlement agreement between the City of Providence and plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit over the speed camera program, drivers who were cited between January 16 and April 15 can either contest their tickets or take a $20 automatic refund or reduction.

Those who already paid their $95 speeding tickets can request a hearing in Municipal Court to challenge their citations. If they’re found responsible, they’ll receive a $20 refund. If they’re found not to be responsible, they will receive full refunds. Even drivers who choose not to challenge the citations will receive $20 refunds, according to the agreement. 

Those who haven’t yet paid their fines also have the option to challenge their tickets to have them dismissed. Drivers who don’t wish to have a hearing can opt to pay $75 instead.

The city will notify those affected by the settlement via their website and through letters sent directly to drivers. Anyone who wishes to request a hearing must do so within 60 days of receiving that notice, using a written form. 

The city said refund checks will be mailed out within 14 days of any hearing. Those who waive their hearings will receive a check five days after the 60-day period to request a hearing has passed. Checks will be valid for 180 days, and according to the settlement, any checks that aren’t cashed will go to the Providence School Department.

The settlement will still need to be approved by a judge, a process that could take months. 

Providence came under scrutiny after issuing more than 12,000 $95 speeding tickets during the first 33 days of its speed camera program, which launched in January. A Municipal Court judge ended up dismissing dozens of violations because of errors on the printed tickets.

Rhode Island lawmakers first approved speed cameras in 2016 when they passed the Automated School-Zone-Speed-Enforcement System Act permitting municipalities to install them within a quarter-mile of any type of school. Providence is the only city has installed the cameras, although Mayor Jorge Elorza has predicted that they will eventually be used across the state.

On Tuesday night, the House Judiciary Committee approved a bill that would mandate first and second-time offenders get $50 speeding tickets, and third or subsequent offenders would receive tickets that are $95 each.

The full settlement agreement can be read below.

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