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Critics, supporters weigh in on red-light camera report

After the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reported that accidents were down at intersections with red-light cameras, the Florida League of Cities and State Rep. Daphne Cambell, D-Miami, offered their opposing views.

The report emphasizes that traffic accidents are down at intersections with red lights. But it also states that crashes have decreased overall.

The study does not detail the extent to which accidents have decreased at intersections with or without the red-light cameras.

Here is the statement from the League of Cities.

“Providing cities with the tools they need to keep residents safe is the Florida League of Cities’ No. 1 priority, and this technology has been proven to help authorities punish lawbreakers, reduce dangerous T-bone crashes and change the behavior of those drivers who selfishly choose to run red lights.

“Due to budget constraints and unfunded mandates, local governments commonly have limited law enforcement resources, and photo enforcement helps stretch those resources. Paired with traditional law enforcement techniques, red light safety camera technology makes Florida’s streets safer for drivers, bikers and pedestrians.

“While the data in this report suggests a significant positive effect on traffic safety, the Florida League of Cities believes the government closest to the people governs best, and nobody knows a city better than its residents. Some municipalities have determined that red light running is not a problem in their community and have chosen not to install traffic infraction detectors. Other cities, after holding public hearings and listening to concerned citizens, have determined that red light safety cameras will make their streets safer.

“The findings of the recent study reinforce what many cities already know and truly believe – red light safety cameras do save lives. However, Florida's 410 cities are all uniquely different – what works in Miami may not work in Sopchoppy and vice versa. As we approach the 2013 legislative session, the Florida League of Cities will continue to advocate for legislation that protects cities’ home rule power to decide what is best for the residents of its community.“

The study, based on a survey of the 73 local governments in Florida with active camera programs, found that the number of total crashes, angle-crashes and rear-end crashes all decreased from July 1, 2011, through June 30, 2012. A total of 44 percent of community police departments saw a reduction in side-impact crashes, 41 percent experienced a reduction in rear-end crashes, and 56 percent reported a total reduction in crashes at red-light camera intersections. In a state that ranked the third most deadliest in the nation for traffic related fatalities in 2010, the decrease in crashes adds up to saved lives and costs.

 Here is the statement from Campbell.

 

State Representative Daphne Campbell (D) Ranking Member of Local & Federal Affairs Committee, out of frustration over the number of complaints she has received from constituents concerning the red light cameras, filed House Bill 91 calling for the removal of the traffic infraction detectors.

Representative Campbell stated when our senior citizens receive a ticket in the mail, they have to decide whether to pay that ticket or pay for their medication(s) that they really need. If they do not pay for the ticket(s), their license may be suspended. Many of these senior citizens do not have anyone to take them to a doctor's appointment or to pick-up their medication(s). Having their license suspended would cause a bigger problem for them. However the cost of these tickets could be from $158 to over $200 and increase as long as the ticket is not paid.

The traffic infraction detectors were created after a tragic red light running accident in 2003. The red light camera companies exploit victims to push Florida laws to gain millions. People are presumed guilty by the picture of the camera. The corporations are the ones making the money. The municipalities were sold the idea that they would make money on the cameras and the cameras would support the police officers. But, you cannot cross examine in court a malfunction computer.

The police departments have learned the cameras add to their workload and decreased the so called revenue. Representative Campbell stated some areas of the police department we just cannot delete.

Representative Campbell agrees that some counties may have a financial shortfall, but feels we should not balance our budget on the backs of those who can least afford it on our senior citizens or those with low income. We, the elected officials, are aware of the financial shortfalls, but we must remember the people who elected us.

Representative Campbell stated those who can afford it are paying for the ticket then hiring an attorney to go to court to beat the ticket. These rulings could affect tens of thousands of dollars of traffic citations. Representative Campbell stated she is not working against attorneys but is merely pointing out that some attorneys advertise "You can beat a red light ticket in Florida". Why have it legal for some and not for others? 

 

Comments

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Albert Knock

The National Motorist Association opposes the use of photographic devices to issue tickets. With properly posted speed limits and properly installed traffic-control devices, there is no need for ticket cameras. They can actually make our roads less safe.

Paul Henry

The bill to ban the automated for-profit devices will likely cause a lot of debate and not go anywhere, just as the last one did. A better solution is the 2013 Florida Motorist Rights Restoration Act, which does not ban the devices but treats the tickets the same as every other moving violation by restoring rights, such as having the people in court that processed the evidence.

It's unfortunate no legislators are interested in helping the motorists of Florida both young AND old.

Henry

After their cameras have been in place for a number of years and the pro-camera PR machine has shifted its attention to new markets, some local officials wake up and realize that the cameras don't work. Of the cities that responded to the side crash question in this new survey, 37% reported crash frequency to be the same, or higher. It's not the majority of course, but considering how heavy the pressure is to report that a program is successful, it is a significant percentage.

If you would like to read direct quotes from police chiefs and mayors admitting that cameras don't work, go here http://highwayrobbery.net/redlightcamsdocsIndustryPRMain.html#Candor
Or, if the above link is missing or does not work, Google the names Mussenden Rhodes Weldon Medrano Fitton and scroll down to the box entitled "Extraordinary Candor by Officials."

WOOF

Don't accept the hype.
It's money that they love.
1990 11.5 Million automobile accidents

2008 10.2 Million automobile accidents

http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/cats/transportation/motor_vehicle_accidents_and_fatalities.html

Andrew K

Red light cameras have nothing to do with safety and everything to do with revenue. Politicians who are too cowardly to articulate a case for why their city needs more revenue (i.e., put forth a case for a tax increase) instead opt for taxation by citation, partnering with out-of-state and even out-of-country camera companies who take a big piece of the action.

Countless studies conducted by UNBIASED agencies (i.e., those who don't stand to collect revenue from ticket programs) consistently show that cameras have absolutely no effect on accident rates and in fact lead to more rear end collisions. Google this topic to access any number of studies.

If this is really about safety and not about revenue, then I propose that all proceeds from the fines be donated to charity.

And, if you're in favor of red light cameras, where does it stop? Why not partner with cell phone companies to monitor their customers and report it to the police . . . after all, if you have a cell phone in your car, your driving can be completely monitored for compliance with traffic signals and signs and speed. Same goes for cars with toll transponders (e.g., SunPass). After all, safety first, right?

Beware too of representatives from the camera companies who are known to come to media sites to make comments on forums like this posing as "average citizens". See http://heraldnet.com/article/20110517/BLOG48/705179793/-1/news01 for an example of where one got caught.

Maria

The worst offenders are North Miami and Miami Gardens they hide their cameras so drivers don't know they are there. I got a ticket for making a right turn on red even though the camera showed I stopped I got the ticket because I did not stop before the line. Any judge would have thrown this out.

Red light cameras should be called how cities can steel citizens hard earned money. They need to be Banned.

Randall McMurphy

Umm, Rep. Campbell, maybe the actual decision those senior citizens need to make is whether or not they are still competent to drive if they can't/won't obey traffic laws such as coming to a complete stop at a red light...

Tim

I guess I don't really understand. Tell me again how people who aren't breaking any laws are getting fined?

James C. Walker

What most people don't know is the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) changed the rules in July 2011 on how cities calculate the yellow light intervals. The new rules allow cities to deliberately and maliciously set the yellow intervals too short for the ACTUAL approach speeds of vehicles. This tricks thousands of very safe drivers into tripping the red by a few tenths of a second because the yellows are too short for safe stopping times and distances. BUT, the driver who trips the red by say 0.4 seconds will clear the intersection during the short all-red phase before the cross traffic can arrive. These drivers that get the split second violations which are almost all of the tickets present virtually zero risks of causing the dangerous angle or t-bone crashes.

The cities understand the scam, the camera companies promote their products on the basis of the scam, and FDOT facilitated the scam with the July 2011 rules change. The state gets $83 of each $158 ticket without paying any of the high camera costs, so can you connect the most important DOT on why the rules were changed? (pun intended).

Florida residents need to support Rep. Campbell's bill and contact all their Representatives and Senators to ask them to actively and continuously support the bill until it is passed and signed. Let the legislators know this is an issue which can seriously influence how you will vote in the future.

James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

John N Florida

I certainly hope the state published this report on Charmin. That way, at least it will have one appropriate use.
From the ignored Virginia DOT Report on Red Light Cameras, to the University of South Florida Study of the same,and the exculpation of the lessons from Collier County, this report is nothing more or less what I'd expect from any Department under the tutelage of 'Tricky' Ricky Scott.
My only question is, are the 5th Amendment claims in the notes or do we have to actually get to a court before we start hearing them?

Steve Donaldson

THAT FL RLC "report" being paraded around by the cities is starting to be reviewed. Some cracks in the state report are starting to show. Like NO DATA was included in the report, the other is that is was JUST A SURVEY (more like a RLC town opinion survey). (note RLC towns have been busted in the past playing games to mask the RLC scam. http://www.banthecams.org/1946-six-examples-of-misleading-the-public-safety-claims-by-towns-who-use-ats.html )

Quote:

"An Analysis of the 2012 DHSMV Red Light Camera Program Analysis

http://retiredpublicsafety.com/documents/rlc/DHSMV_2012_RLC_Analysis.pdf

Executive Summary

The DHSMV analysis report has been widely reported in the media as to documenting the effectiveness of red light cameras in Florida. However, a review of the report shows it is in fact just a survey with no supporting data, and numerous issues:

• Local governments in violation of Florida law for reporting requirements;
• No data for red light violation crashes either before the use of automated for-profit enforcement devices or afterward;
• A ticket dismissal rate nearly twice that of officer-issued tickets;
• 44% of the agencies not using crash data as the primary means for device placement;
• 20% to 30% of the agencies failing to submit crash data;
• No numerical data and no means for an independent review of presented data;
• Unqualified persons issuing both notices of violations (NOV) and uniform traffic citations (UTC);
• Inconsistent agency practices on who issues and reviews NOV and UTC;
• Inconsistent ticketing of the less-hazardous right hand turns;
• Over 77% of the agencies lacking an agency policy to define the circumstances for right hand turn enforcement;
• No report data for activation errors; and
• No report data as to compliance with minimum yellow light timing.

In summary, the omission of key data, the lack of a means to independently verify the claims, as well as the failure of 20% to 30% of the agencies to submit crash data invalidates this report."

Also see the prelude to the review of the RLC report: http://retiredpublicsafety.com/wp/a-key-difference-between-automated-for-profit-enforcement-and-those-diet-programs/

www.banthecams.org

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