Florida Senate Takes U-Turn On Red Light Cameras

TALLAHASSEE – (CBSMiami.com) – Automated red-light cameras are getting the stop sign in both house of the Florida Legislature, as  the Senate Transportation Committee voted 4-2 Tuesday to repeal the state law allowing the cameras.

The Senate action follows a similar decision last week by the Florida House Economic Affairs Committee.

The repeal bill, sponsored by Republican Senator Rene Garcia of Hialeah, would roll back a a decision in the last legislature that made the cameras legal, so long as the state got a piece of the action.

The automated cameras snap drivers as they pass through red lights, and after review, generate fines that are not traffic tickets. The proceeds are split between the municipality, the state, and the company that installs and maintains the cameras.

Since the state cleared the way for what had been a limited and legally shaky use of the cameras, they have sprung up at intersections across the state, raising the ire of motorists who feel they are unfair and possibly unconstitutional.

“I was glad to see overwhelming support to repeal red light cameras pass out of the Senate Transportation Committee today,” said Barbara Sharief, Broward County Commissioner, District 8, an opponent of the automated cameras.

“I will continue to advocate repeal of these devices as local governments continue to generate revenue from our residents and pad the pockets of a private company who has a monopoly in this state.”

Broward County has not supported the cameras, denying local governments permission to place them on county right-of-way.

Law enforcement officials statewide testified the cameras are saving lives and reducing accidents.

Those caught by the cameras face a $158 fine that becomes a ticket, with the possibility of points on your license, if a motorist protests the ticket and loses.

  • Jane Doe

    I have no problem with the cameras that catch people running red lights. Those ones are clear and have no grey areas. You either ran the red light or you didn’t. It is the ones that are used for red light turns that bother me since they decided how long a vehicle should be stopped before they turn.

  • The Common Man

    Red Light Cameras are just plain and simply wrong! It’s a money maker for cities and the camera company, hell you see these things popping up everywhere. You can make a case that the cameras make certain intersections safer. But let’s make that case without the high fines. We pay taxes to have our public safety officials enforce the law. Not a corporation for profit, if we the tax payers have to pay companies to enforce the law, stop taxes. If you think there is no bottom line for the camera company, you are going down the path the municipalities are trying to sell the public.

  • Astrid Bidanec

    Automatic cameras at stop lights have been common-place in Europe for ages. Furthermore, they have been proven to reduce accidents caused by drivers who run red lights. While I’m not advocating that this private company should have a monopoly and get rich off this, I do believe that having to shell out $158 is an excellent deterrent for reckless drivers who are prone to speed through orange and red, instead of hitting the brakes.

  • Bill

    Why have we not heard politicians ask, ‘Why are there so many violators”? Could it be that it is by design? Considering posted speeds, short yellow caution and existing following distance, it is not surprising. The conditional statute stopping boundary is also confusing.

  • carol

    I’d be more willing to pay for all cars requiring a device put in them that disables the use of cell phones….

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