BY BUDDY NEVINS
Blasting red light cameras as a “back door tax” for cities, State Sen. Daphne Campbell has filed a bill to abolish them.
A state study released Dec. 31 found that total traffic accidents increased 10.14 percent in Florida after the cameras were installed.
Campbell said the study proves that the cameras were merely a money making device for cities.
“My community struggles to make ends meet and is disproportionally affected by the back-door tax that cities are taking from them through the use of red-light cameras,” said Campbell, D-Miami. “I am proud to continue the fight against the unfairness of these unsafe, money-grabbing profiteering businesses.”
The number of jurisdictions using red light cameras has been declining in the state for years. Yet the state study found that the number of tickets has increased.
After an appellate court ruled in 2014 that Hollywood could not turn over its ticket procedures to a vendor, several local cities stopped their camera programs.
Four cities in Broward County were surveyed.
The study by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles found a dramatic increase in accidents before and after installing the cameras in three of the four Broward cities – Sunrise, Tamarac and Fort Lauderdale.
Fort Lauderdale, which has discontinued its red light program, had a 84 percent more accidents at intersections surveyed. Sunrise had 81 percent and Tamarac had 67 percent, according to the state research.
Davie had a 50 percent decrease.
Red light cameras have been banned in Arkansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Repeated attempts by some lawmakers to ban the cameras in Florida, which were permitted by the Legislature in 2010, have failed in part due to heavy lobbying by cities.
“Florida should join the list of thirteen states that ban red light cameras. Seniors throughout Florida whose only source of income is their social security benefits have to choose between paying their medication or paying fines from red light cameras. We should pass good policy in Tallahassee that helps the residents and tourists of the beautiful State of Florida; not policy that does more harm than good.”