Red light runners could face higher fines in Florida

| 5/4/2005

If a bill before the governor in Florida becomes law, red will mean more than stop – it will mean a much bigger fine if you fail to do so.

Gov. Jeb Bush is expected to sign HB 497 into law, which will more than double the fine for running a red stop light in Florida to $125, up from $60, the Orlando Sentinel reported. If signed, the law will take effect on Oct. 1.

The bill gained support in the legislature after 22-year-old Ashley Elizabeth Townsend ran her SUV through a red light and hit and killed 5-year-old Anjelica Velez and her 2-year-old sister, Victoria Velez, in October 2004 in Orange County.

Supporters of the bill, including the girls’ father, Ivan Velez, hope the increase will help curb dangerous light-runners.

“It’s a beginning; it’s a start,” Velez told the Sentinel. “You’re going to go through a red light now, you’re going to pay more.”

Opponents, however, said the higher fines aren’t enough to get distracted drivers’ eyes back on the road.