Sugar Land strengthens penalties for outstanding red light camera citations

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Drivers who fail to pay fines associated with red light camera citations in Sugar Land could see a hold placed on their vehicle registration renewal as a result of a new program implemented by the city.

Sugar Land City Council approved the Scofflaw Program on Oct. 21 in coordination with the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles to block vehicle registration renewals for drivers with outstanding traffic violations on record.

Doug Adolph, assistant communications director for Sugar Land, said the agreement stems from an increase in unpaid fines. There is about $3 million in unpaid red light fines with about 70 percent of violators coming from other counties. Adolph said Sugar Land residents make up 30 percent of red light and traffic violations. Approximately $4 million has yet to be paid from other traffic violations. Nevertheless, Adolph said the Scofflaw Program is designed to get violators to pay their fines.

“The agreement between Sugar Land and the state is so you will not be able to register online, and you will not be able to register through the mail [if there are unpaid fines on record],” Adolph said. “I think that most people should suspect some form of consequence when you do not pay a fine that is backed by state law.”

A 90-day amnesty period began in late November, allowing violators to pay red light traffic fines before enforcement of the Scofflaw Program. Adolph said the program will include all red light violations dating back three years.

Once the amnesty period concludes, violators who have not paid their fines will not be able to reinstate their vehicle registration through the DMV until fines are paid. However, for violators from other counties reinstating their vehicles through their county tax-assessor, it will be up to the respective county tax-assessor to uphold the registration block.

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Connor covers Sugar Land and Missouri City businesses, Fort Bend ISD, city government and Fort Bend County. He joined Community Impact Newspaper in December 2014 as the Sugar Land | Missouri City reporter.
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