Florida lawmaker renews effort to outlaw red-light cameras

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 10/9/2015

The use of automated cameras to ticket drivers in Florida could once again draw debate at the statehouse.

Since 2010, localities around the state have been authorized to post red-light cameras at intersections. Violators face $158 fines.

“Red-light cameras are another example of taxation by citation,” Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, said in remarks posted on Facebook. “I am committed to ending this exploitation of Florida drivers.”

Brandes has filed a bill for the 2016 regular session to repeal the rule. His latest effort marks the fourth time in as many years he has attempted to put a stop to programs that at one time nearly 80 counties and cities across the state implemented at busy intersections.

However, most communities in the state have opted to abandon use of the technology after a 2013 law took effect to increase “yellow times” at affected intersections. The change to improve safety significantly reduced revenue raised through automated ticketing programs.

According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, 28 states allow at least one type of automated enforcement. Conversely, 13 states have acted to prohibit use of the enforcement tool. Seven states authorize limited use.

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

Opponents, including the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, question the claim that cameras are solely intended to keep people safe.

OOIDA supports efforts to limit ticket cameras. Association officials say the focus on the revenue-generating devices ignores the more logical and reasoned approach to roads and traffic. Instead, the goal should be to keep traffic moving in as safe a manner as possible.

Brandes’ bill, SB168, can be considered during the session that begins in March 2016.

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