License plates lead to mistaken tickets - FOX 13 News

License plates lead to mistaken tickets

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

Dennis Vanderwaal is known for cruising Madeira Beach via Club Car. But the military vet's joy ride came to a screeching halt after he got an unusual citation in the mail.

"It's a ticket for a red light violation," Vanderwaal said Monday.

Vanderwaal says it would take some serious gas to get his golf cart to the scene of the crime: an intersection in central Florida.

"I knew right away that it was a mistake," he said.

A red light camera in Kissimmee snapped three photos, clearly showing a gold minivan breezing through the intersection. The tag number captured on camera wasn't registered to the van. It was traced back to Vanderwaal's cart, which was safely stowed 100 miles away.

The cause behind the mystery mix-up? You can blame it on the state tag's signature oranges. Green foliage on the design caused the 'D' on the plate to appear as a 'B'.

The confusion didn't stop there.

"The 'Y' on the plate was actually a 'V'. So it was a double mishap," Vanderwaal said.

The camouflaged characters aren't going unnoticed by state highway officials. They're now asking the public to help pick out a new a new state plate design that's easier on the eyes. The state has designed four possible replacements that can be clearly read by automated cameras. Now, it's up to drivers to pick a winning design with an online vote over the next two weeks.

In the meantime, Vanderwaal had no problems proving that his wheels weren't the offending ones.

"The batteries won't take me that far!" he laughed.


To see and vote on the four possible license plate design options, visit Voting closes on December 14th.

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