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Professional Engineer’s License Suspended for Illegally Certifying Red Light Cameras


When it comes to engineering, there are many rules and ethics involved. Professional engineers are required to be licensed in the state in which they work. If they’re not properly licensed, they could face penalties such as fines and license loss.

This is the case for a professional engineer from North Carolina. In 2019, American Traffic Solutions (ATS) installed 13 red light cameras in the city of Wilmington, even though the company was not licensed to provide this service in North Carolina. Of the 13 installation plans, 12 were unsealed. They listed ATS as the engineer. The 13th one listed an ATS employee. Neither ATS nor the employee were licensed to perform engineering duties in North Carolina.

According to the City of Wilmington, engineering seals aren’t a requirement for red light camera installation. However, the North Carolina Board of Examiners for Engineers and Surveyors (NCBELS) says otherwise, so the cameras were installed illegally. In addition, NCBELS investigated Robert F. Rennebaum, who signed the ATS plans in Greenville. Although he is a licensed engineer, Rennebaum didn’t work for ATS. He also did not create the plans nor did he supervise the engineer who created the plan, which is another violation of the law.

NCBELS formally reprimanded the engineer. Rennebaum was forced to pay a $5,000 fine and complete an ethics course within six months. In November 2019, the deadline had passed. Rennebaum had not provided NCBELS with proof of course completion, so the board suspended his license on November 29, 2019.

ATS, however, will not face any penalties due to the state’s laws, which have limited power. All NCBELS can do, basically, is determine whether or not a company’s services can be considered engineering. In addition, NCBELS has jurisdiction only over engineers and companies that are licensed. The board was able to take away Rennebaum’s license because he had one. ATS, however, has no license, so there’s no way to punish the company.

Oddly enough, under state law, ATS technically isn’t breaking the law. Even though practicing engineering without a license is a crime, and ATS has no license, NCBELS is not allowed to say that the company is breaking the law. They cannot come to that conclusion on their own. That is something only the state attorney general’s office can do. And while NCBELS has notified the state attorney general’s office of the situation, nothing has been done yet. The city attorney is not concerned about the legality of the red light cameras.

Keep Your License With Help From a Professional Engineers Licensing Lawyer

Professional engineers create all sorts of projects and structures for their communities. The public relies on these professionals to ensure these items are safe, ethical and properly certified.

When ethical issues arise, a person can face administrative actions against their license. If you are in this situation, get help from Tampa professional engineers licensing lawyer David P. Rankin. He has represented more than 100 Professional Engineers before the Florida Board of Professional Engineers. To schedule a consultation, fill out the online form or call (813) 968-6633.