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Former Traffic Court Judge Serving New York and New Jersey

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Traffic tickets issued to man in coma

While traffic camera systems are designed to be efficient and unbiased, they can sometimes prove to be models of imperfection. To illustrate, consider a recent news story out of Ohio, where moving violations were issued to a man in a coma.
According to sources, 35-year-old James B. allegedly committed traffic violations by driving 49 miles-per-hour in a 35-mile-per-hour zone back in July 2012. However, at the time the violations occurred, he was in an area hospital fighting for his life after suffering a massive heart attack and slipping into a coma.

Family rushed in from out-of-town to visit him, fearing that he wouldn't survive. During that time, one of his family members used his car, which led to the speeding tickets.

"My sister, or my niece, or my brother-in-law were using the car, causing the two speeding tickets," said James B. "They were using the car daily to visit me at the hospital, and it wasn't clear who was driving my car the days the violations took place."

After he awoke from his coma, James B., who was confined to his bed for several weeks, was informed about the two traffic tickets. Hospital staff then helped him write a letter to the court staff explaining his circumstances.

Their reply?

The fines still needed to be paid.

Furthermore, the tickets were eventually hit with an additional $120 in late fees and sent to a collection agency -- despite the fact that James B. was physically unable to appear in court

Fortunately, after news of the ordeal broke, the court staff agreed to waive the late fees. However, they still insisted that the fines be paid, noting that it's still the responsibility of the car's owner -- not the driver -- to make sure the fines have been paid.

James B. has agreed to pay the fines, but understandably feels frustrated by the situation and would like to see change introduced to the traffic camera system.

Stay tuned for more from our New York vehicle traffic law blog ...

If you have been issued a traffic violation, fight to keep your driving privileges and your insurance premiums as low as possible. Consider contacting an attorney who understands New York's confusing legal system, and who can help you evaluate your options and make the right decisions.

This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.

Source:

News Net 5, "Parma man issued Cleveland traffic camera tickets while in a coma," Joe Pagonakis, Jan. 11, 2013

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