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Attempt to lower red light camera fines shot down in Senate

Red light runners would have paid less for getting violations and had more time to pay them under SB 1342 by Sen. Joe Abruzzo, D-Wellington, but the lobbying muscle of the agencies and governments that produce revenue from the fines overturned it.

If approved, the bill would have reduced fines from $158 to $100 and given violators 90 days to respond rather than the current 30 days.

The Florida Senate Transportation Committee on Thursday, however, instead approved an amendment by Sen. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth. It restored the fines at $158 and the 30 day response time.

Afterward, Abruzzo said he will give up on reducing the fines, but said he will work to ensure that the revenue from fines go increasingly to cities, counties and medical facilities. Abruzzo said he’s uncomfortable with how much money from the fines goes to private vendors.

“I want to make sure the money truly goes where it should,” Abruzzo said.

Clemens’ replacement amendment was a victory for law enforcement agencies, which derive a large sum of money from the fines.

“These fines help pay for the costs associated with running the program,” said Amy Mercer, executive director of the Florida Police Chiefs Association, which represents about 400 law enforcement agencies.

But the red light cameras still find themselves in the crosshairs of lawmakers from both parties.

“The evidence of how (the cameras) impact driver behavior is spotty at best,” said Sen. Tom Lee, R-Brandon. “It’s certainly not conclusive. We need to be honest about what this is really about...This is about vendors making money.”

Clemens and other senators, such as Sen. Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, say the cameras work and need to be supported.

“I think they do work,” Joyner said. “I think lives do get saved.”

Comments

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Paul Henry

Sen. Clemens (D-ATS) failed to mention- or as he phrased it- "waste the time" of the committee with other changes his amendment made:

Automated right-on-red enforcement, which has been abused, was added back in to the bill.

Steps toward proper yellow light timing were removed.

The entire Motorist Rights portion of the bill was removed by his amendment. These include the right to a hearing from the mailed ticket (does not currently exist), the right to be innocent until proven guilty (the owner is currently presumed guilty and must prove their innocence), and the right to have the people in court to validate their evidence.

These essential rights, along with limiting automated right-on-red enforcement, and requiring proper yellow light timing, must be returned to the final version of the bill. Our legislators are supposed to represent us, not our government agencies and for-profit companies in Arizona. According to Florida campaign finance records, Sen. Clemens took $1,000 in campaign money from Arizona camera vendor ATS between November 2011 and December 2012.

Automated for-profit law enforcement is a bad idea. Sen. Jeff Clemens gutted the Motorist Rights bill on 3/21/13 via an amendment.
Call him at 850-487-5027 and let him know his actions are not appreciated.

Michael

These cameras dont just fine "red light runners" They also fine people making right turns on red, stopping too close to the cross walk, or being caught in the intersection when it turns red- which is easy since they reduce the yellow light times *cough, Oldsmar cough*

Way to go senate, Keep the money flowing to AZ based American Traffic Solutions.

James C. Walker

Senator Clemens amendment was a poison addition that guts the badly needed reforms in the red light camera law. It is 100% favorable to the camera companies and the cities that want to continue taking $100 million per year that comes mostly from safe drivers who have done nothing dangerous.
The state allows and even encourages cities to set yellows too short for actual approach speeds and the amendment took out a reform for this abuse.
Right on red turns cause only 0.4% of all crashes and 0.06% of injury and fatality crashes, so this almost always safe action should not be ticketed. The amendment removed a provision to stop ticketing right on red turns.
The terms of the amendment were likely written by the camera vendor ATS and they will be drinking champagne if it passes.
Call your Senator and ask them to get SB1342 restored to its original language to reform red light cameras.
James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

Stephen Donaldson

http://www.banthecams.org/Red-Light-Camera-News/the-sb-1342-reform-bill-has-been-gutted-by-camera-side-bill-not-worth-supporting-as-it-stands.html

THE SB 1342 REFORM BILL has BEEN GUTTED BY CAMERA SIDE. BILL NOT WORTH SUPPORTING AS IT STANDS!

•THE RIGHT TURN ON RED RLC TICKET PROHIBITION HAS BEEN REMOVED!
The Language needed:


http://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2013/1342/BillText/Filed/PDF

Line 306 thru Line 310
Neither a notice of violation nor and a traffic citation may not be issued under this section for a right-on-red violation.

•LONGER AMBER TIME REQUIREMENT (ADDED YELLOW) HAS BEEN REMOVED!
The Language needed:

Line 412 thru 414
The minimum yellow signal display duration on traffic control signals shall be based on the posted speed limit plus 10 percent along with the standards set forth in the Florida Department of Transportation’s Traffic Engineering Manual.

BAN THE CAMS NOTE: Idealistically 1 PLUS ITE is best.

•MOTORISTS RIGHTS provisions Gutted!

THIS BILL IS NO LONGER A REFORM BILL WITHOUT THOSE PROVISIONS!"

www.banthecams.org

D

Mr. Clemens how do you sleep at night knowing that you are denying citizens their natural rights for the almighty dollar? What do you think your maker will think about your corruption and ties to ATS when your time comes to be reviewed. Stop the corruption and get the slime balls who worship the almighty dirty dollar out of being "Representatives" of the people. Demand better Florida!

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