If a Florida state
lawmaker has his way, counties and cities in the state would be given the green
light to install cameras at intersections to detect red light runners.
Sponsored by Rep. Ron
Reagan, R-Bradenton, the measure would allow cameras on traffic signals that
could photograph vehicles running red lights.
The effort is sure to
face an uphill battle. House Speaker Allan Bense has called using cameras to
snap pictures of vehicle license plates an intrusion by government. Despite his
misgivings on the bill, he said he is willing to look at the legislation.
Reagan told The
Bradenton Herald he understands his legislation is highly unlikely to pass,
but his goal is to start the dialogue so that it may pass during future
sessions. He said the bill was about safety and using technology in a helpful
Reagan’s bill would
only allow cameras to photograph vehicles and their tag numbers. The registered
owner of a vehicle photographed running a red light would be mailed a ticket
and ordered to pay a $65 fine. No points would be added to the vehicle owner’s
The citing county or
city would receive $5 of the fine, when paid, and the rest would go to fund
state trauma services.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration endorses
the cameras, which are in communities in 20 states and the District of
Columbia, with still other states pursuing similar authorization.
But opponents are
concerned the cameras would be the beginning of a trip down a slippery slope on
which police could use the cameras to photograph drivers and monitor the
movements of citizens.
In an effort to ease
those concerns, Reagan included a provision in the bill that counties or cities
cannot use the cameras to record “images of general traffic conditions or
activities occurring within the intersection or surrounding areas.”
Reagan said the
safety benefits of deterrence from running red lights would far outweigh privacy
concerns, which he told the newspaper are unfounded.
HB1439 is before three House panels.