Drivers get school zone speeding tickets with school closed during freeze


Posted on February 14, 2014 at 7:36 PM

Updated Friday, Feb 14 at 7:41 PM

Meg Farris / Eyewitness News
Email: | Twitter: @megfarriswwl

Tuesday we did a story that struck a nerve with a lot of you: A Jefferson Parish Fire Department captain got a traffic camera ticket in school zones during the freeze, when schools weren't even open.
It turns out a lot of you had no success in trying to contact the City of New Orleans about the problem.
Email after email message complained that no one answered the city ticket violation hotline. And, despite the city saying tickets were withheld, viewers sent pictures of their tickets to Eyewitness News. So we went back to the driver in our original story who said he called for three days straight before he got an answer.

"They had no clue as to what I was talking about or any of it. They said, 'Hold on, let me transfer you to my supervisor.' Supervisor got on the phone and had even less clue," said A.C. Wahlen III.

A city deputy mayor says that there were some tickets sent out in error, and the processing company has been asked to go camera by camera and pull all those tickets.

"We subsequently have voided all those tickets and people will be receiving correspondence that they have been voided," said Cedric Grant, Deputy Mayor of Facilities, Infrastructure and Community Development in New Orleans.

Grant says all of the emergency freeze planning didn't allow enough time to turn cameras off. He says you no longer need to call that violation hotline and there is no reason to keep a court date. He also spoke about the slow call center service.

"We are in the situation where we do the best we can with the resources we have. And that's one of those places where we are doing less with less. And we've tried to correct that and we're going to put some additional staffing in place to make sure that someone answers the phone," explained Grant. 
One viewer also wrote us to say that when the time changes to daylight saving time, the lights don't change to reflect that, so the school zone times are off.

"We are aware of the daylight saving time's issue and we're trying to make a technical adjustment to that," added Grant. 

Today Whalen finally heard from a city staff member by phone, who did not identify herself, who he said stated, "The ticket was removed from the records and I shouldn't have any other problems,"
The City of New Orleans says 510 tickets were sent out in school zones during the days schools were closed for the freeze. The city says it appreciates everyone's patience and letters will go out Monday stating  school zone tickets on January 28 and 29 will be voided. (Eyewitness News was originally told the void ticket dates would be January 29 and 30.)