Florida bills would forbid ticket cameras

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 9/9/2013

Two Florida lawmakers want to put an end to the state’s use of automated enforcement cameras.

Since 2010, localities around the state have been authorized to post red-light cameras at intersections.

Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, and Rep. Frank Artiles, R-Miami, have filed bills for consideration during the 2014 regular session that would repeal the rule. Instead, local governments in about 70 cities and counties throughout Florida would be forced to take down cameras at intersections to catch red-light runners.

According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, 31 states allow at least one type of automated enforcement. Conversely, 12 states have acted to prohibit use of the enforcement tool. Seven states authorize limited use.

In Florida, violators face $158 fines. Revenue from fines is divvied up between the state and the cities and counties where the roads are located. Whatever local jurisdictions pay to companies to supply, maintain and operate the equipment comes out of their $75 cut.

Advocates say red-light cameras promote safety and the use of technology in a helpful way. At the time the law took effect, they pointed to figures from one 12-month period that showed 76 fatalities were caused by drivers who disregarded a traffic signal in Florida.

Opponents, including the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, question the claim that cameras are solely intended to keep people safe. Critics say advance warning signs on all approaches to intersections equipped with automated enforcement would virtually solve the red-light running problem – in Florida and elsewhere.

The bills can be considered during the session that begins in March 2014.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Florida, click here.

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