TV Highlights Hypocrisy Over Red Light Cameras

BY BUDDY NEVINS

Channel 6-NBC Miami proved tonight that elected officials who support red light cameras are hypocrites.

The report by Willard Shepard featured the red light camera Pembroke Pines has installed westbound at Pembroke Road and SW 129th Avenue.  This is at the southern entrance of Century Village.

I want to see any official claim how these particular Pembroke Pines cameras are being used as a safety measure. Their nose is growing.

Century Village residents are ticketed  if  they don’t come to a full stop while turning right on red.  Note: It is almost impossible to get in an accident at the intersection when turning right on red since there is no oncoming traffic, according to the TV report.

Pembroke Pines officials were spinning when they voted for red light cameras and said it was to prevent accident.

So is every other official in every other city.

Running a red light is not the overwhelming cause of  accidents that supporters would have you believe.  Neither is turning right on red without coming to a complete stop.

A contributing factor for about 2.85 percent of all accidents statewide in 2009 was disregarding a traffic signal. Compare that with alcohol, which is involved in 19 percent of all accidents. Or speeding, which contributes to 12 percent of the accidents. Or failing to yield, contributing to 10 percent.

The state says that a vast majority of the accidents take place between noon and 6 p.m., with the highest risk between 4 and 6 p.m.  I think it would be a bigger deterrent to put police at dangerous intersections during those hours.

Another deterrent would be stricter enforcement of seat belt laws.  Traffic deaths and injuries could be cut 50 percent if everybody wore one, according to the state.

But it is so much more lucrative to slap a major new charge on drivers.

American Traffic Solutions, who installed the cameras, gets $75 of each ticket.  Pembroke Pines gets another $75 and the state gets $83.

In addition, American Traffic Solutions get $4,750 per month for each camera.  That fee is waved if the camera doesn’t generate enough tickets to cover it.

This is a major handout to special interests in this case American Traffic Solutions and its ilk.  This is a new, ridiculous high fee on drivers with money added in to enrich a private out-of-state corporation.

Just check out how many lobbyists the company has in Tallahassee to protect those high ticket fees.  These lobbyists are attempting to block a bill that would outlaw the insidious devices, including members of the firm of Hollywood-based firm Becker & Poliakoff.:

American Traffic Solutions, Inc

  • George Oscar Anderson

 

  • Louis G. Betz

 

  • Electra Bustle

 

  • Edgar O. Castro

 

  • Nelson D. Diaz

 

  • Christopher F. Dudley

 

  • Chris L. Floyd

 

  • Towson Fraser

 

  • Cynthia A. Henderson

 

  • Nicholas V. Iarossi

 

  • Yolanda Cash Jackson

 

  • Ronald C. LaFace, Jr.

 

  • Cedric A. McMinn
  • Matthew R. Montgomery

Now you know why they need that $4,750 per camera.

One solution would be to contest every ticket. Go to court and cost the city the money it would have made.  The cameras would soon be prove to be uneconomical and would be removed…which is a good thing.



59 Responses to “TV Highlights Hypocrisy Over Red Light Cameras”

  1. North Carolina Blues says:

    Buddy:
    I don’t have a problem with red light cameras any more that I don’t have a problem with the turnpike cameras to catch SunPass cheats.
    I do have an issue with police being able to pull over drivers for seat belt violations. As you know, just a few years ago, the police couldn’t stop you for no seat belt, but they could write the citation if they stopped you for another reason.
    Now, since a seat belt violation is a primary offense dishonest law enforcement can stop anyone at any time and merely claim that a seat belt was not being worn. Basically, legit probable cause has gone out of the window and been replaced with a disprovable claim the a driver wasn’t wearing a belt.
    You and I may not worry, but think of pretextual stops made on minorities. Sigh…

    FROM BUDDY:

    My problem is not with the cameras per say. One of my problems is with the hypocrisy practiced by public officials. Can’t they be honest for a change and admit the cameras are being installed to raise money. Stop hiding behind the excuse of safety.

    My second problem is the payout formula. It is an obscene gift to private corporations. This has suddenly become a multi-million dollar business in Florida and the money is coming out of drivers’ pockets.

    Sun Pass cameras are admittedly a method to insure drivers pay the tool. There is no subterfuge.

    It is possible that seat belt laws are being abused. However, there is strong, strong evidence stretching over a generation that seat belts save lives.

    I obviously don’t approve of any law enforcement officer using traffic laws to illegally target anyone, but I know it happens.

  2. Pembroke Pines Resident says:

    Frank Ortis and Angelo Castillo are the two biggest hypocrites.

  3. County Employee says:

    Looks like Sharief, Jacobs and Rodstrom were on the money…they spoke the loudest against this at the county, with Comm Sharief asking for the initial ban. Lets hope other politicians wake up and recognize its ALL ABOUT MONEY!

  4. hbyaah says:

    It’s simple. Just stop for the red light. Straight through or right turn that is the law. Then there will be no ticket and we will all be a little safer. If we all obeyed this law, there would be no tickets and the cameras would eventually go away.
    One of my employees got a ticket and the video showed he clearly did not stop for the red light on a right turn. Yes, I can go to court to fight it but why? The video did not lie. This was a valuable lesson learned. This habit is a danger to him and other drivers and I’m glad I found out about his driving habits. He has been instructed to pay the ticket out of his own pocket. He now says he is more aware of his driving habits because of this experience and my other employees are extra careful now as well.
    So because of this ticket I feel our roads are a little safer for you and me.

  5. Spelling Snob says:

    I’m sorry… I’m just insulted that we can’t seem to spell “hypocrisy” correctly. I’m all for a soapbox; I just think the message goes over better when the spelling jives.

  6. Insurance Institute and Data Says Otherwise says:

    You know, there may be another side to this story. Why not present the other side AND THE DATA — from the independent, non-profit group Insurance Institute for Highway Safety showing all the communities using and the data from their study.

    http://www.iihs.org/news/rss/pr020111.html:

    “The researchers found that in the 14 cities that had cameras during 2004-08, the combined per capita rate of fatal red light running crashes fell 35 percent, compared with 1992-96. The rate also fell in the 48 cities without camera programs in either period, but only by 14 percent.

    Based on that comparison, the researchers concluded that the rate of fatal red light running crashes in cities with cameras in 2004-08 was 24 percent lower than it would have been without cameras. That adds up to 74 fewer fatal red light running crashes or, given the average number of fatalities per red light running crash, approximately 83 lives saved.”

    “The cities that have the courage to use red light cameras despite the political backlash are saving lives,” says Institute president Adrian Lund.”

    http://www.iihs.org/research/topics/rlr.html

    http://www.iihs.org/research/qanda/rlr.html

    There is no diety-given right to run a red light. There is no fore-fathers-would-have-put-in-the-constitution-if-wanted-us-to-make-such-a-law argument to attack the law as violating the original thinkers intent.
    http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/02/12/2062754/red-light-cameras-big-brothers.html

    Run it, whether a cop sitting there or not, you should be ticketed. Doesn’t make you a bad person, just made a mistake.

    If it makes money, so what. So doing speeding tickets. Maybe we should bar police from stopping speeders — stop being hypocrites (doing 50 in 35 isnt killing anybody — or show me the data — or understand that sometimes going speed limit causes accidents because the rest of the drivers are trying to speed or following too closely). And, no more changing lanes illegally or u-turn tickets — I mean, seriously, how many people die from that.

    In reality, over time, people will say they dont want to pay so maybe they wont race through lights, wont follow too close at intersections, and will actually think about stopping for a red light. That is the core of all behavior changing laws — to change behavior, even if there is a financial consequence for not changing.

    FROM BUDDY:
    There is something wrong with that business model. If people don’t run red lights or turn on red without stopping, there are no violations. If the cameras doesn’t catch violators, they don’t make money for the company and the city.

  7. Insurance Institute and Data Says Otherwise says:

    Well, if they don’t rob banks and stores, dont need cameras to catch people. If people dont break law, dont need cops. If there are no fires, dont need fireman. If people didnt speed, we could save money on signs.

    That logic doesnt hold up because today, there will be a red light crash somewhere in the country. It wont involved your family member, but it will involve someone’s.

    If it is to be my son, daughter, husband, wife destined for that crash, I dont care if the camera which altered behavior never did more than break even.

  8. RA says:

    Here is another link to support Buddy’s comments….national story on red light cameras and Broward is mentioned along with the OUTRAGEIOUS COSTS

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/42586630#42586630

  9. Floridan says:

    Just stop at the red light and there won’t be any problem.

    The other option would be for Century Village residents to lobby for a green right-turn arrow at the intersection.

  10. C'mon Now says:

    I’ve always held that the turn on red law was a bad one. Stand on the corner of any major intersection and observe the amount of motorists that really come to a full stop or even bother to slow down.
    Perhaps in Mayberry this law works, NYC limits it to a handful of intersections.
    This is legalised russian roullette Broward County and other densely populated areas are playing.

  11. Kevin says:

    Those old folks at Century Village vote constantly….. what were these people thinking?

  12. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:

    Dear Buddy and Friends,

    Responding to this issue, again, a waste of my time since Pines residents understand the need for and support our camera program. But just because I think Buddy is a great guy, and because incorrect facts were passed along to him, I’ll respond if only to correct the record.

    First, 129th Avenue is not the southern entrance of Century Village. The southern entrance is nearly 2 miles away on Pembroke Road. Nor is it the northern entrance to the community which is on 136th Avenue.

    The 129th Avenue camera was our original camera installation selected for two reasons. First, our surveys indicated there were lots of red light violations there. Over a year later that’s less true now. It is clearly a safer location today. Second, the city owned the right of way and at the time that was a requirement for camera installation. It had nothing to do with Century Village.

    Third, is a lie that cars are ticketed if they do not come to a full stop. Cars are only ticketed if they go through an intersection while there is a standing red light. Police officers reviewing the video only approve the issuance of tickets to those that go through STANDING red lights. Which is my next point — there is an officer there. For every ticket issued. Not one camera violation gets issued unless a Pembroke Pines police officer agrees that the violation was committed.

    Further, nobody in Pembroke Pines was “spinning” when we voted on the red light camera program. Not sure where you got that from, but residents asked us for safer roads. We had tons of meetings and discussions about this. The City Commission’s vote to proceed with the program with both unanimously and confident.

    We did it for safety, with the support of the community. If you want to join the ranks of the cyncial, pessimistic, obstructionist naysayers that don’t do squat to keep our community safe go right ahead. I have no such luxury. Neither do my collegues. In our city, we are expected to govern. We take that duty seriously even when some politicians, so called, do not.

    FACT: Red light cameras slow people down and reminds them to stop for lights.

    FACT: The live feed feature deters serious crime from occurring in the communities where they are used.

    FACT: That’s because cops are quicker to catch a serious criminal leaving the scene of a crime.

    FACT: The Insurance Institute for Highways Safety found that red lights save lives.

    I distrust insurance companies but there’s good reason to believe their report. They think red light cameras will reduce claims. That’s money taling folks. It also forms an argument I hope to someday make to lower our area’s out-of-control auto insurance premiums. To do that, you have to reduce accidents.

    If that’s still not convincing, consider the findings of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That’s the agency tasked with keeping us safe on the nation’s roads. They found that 10% of all red light fatalities in the US occurred in one State. Guess which one? You got it — Florida.

    Of those, 85% occurred in one section of that state. Guess which? South Florida.

    South Florida has a huge problem with red light running, accidents, safety and fatalities. Live in denial if you wish. My job is to do whatever possible to keep you safe anyway. I’m clear what the facts are.

    Oh, by the way, the NHTSA confirms that intersection crashes are 25% of all police reported crashes certainly not 2.85%, wherever that came from.

    America has increasingly been using technology to enforce vehicle violations. Radar guns and cameras at intersections and tolls are not particularly new strategies. The law enforcement community supports them, so do the traffic and safety engineers. This argument that it makes money or loses money is a cynic’s best try to deflect attention from the truth — these interventions make our roads safer.

    It is so easy to avoid any difficulty with a red light camera. When you see a yellow light, slow down don’t speed up. To do that consistently, don’t speed. Learn to drive within the speed limit, learn to drive within the law and rules — pay attention while you drive — and you shouldn’t have any trouble stopping for a light.

    Do these things and you have a great day. Don’t and you get a ticket.

    Three weeks ago, we had a city community bus overturned going legally into Century Village with 9 senior citizen passengers. A Toyota Camry, which is a relatively small car, went through a standing red light with such speed and power that it turned that bus on it’s side after it crashed. Thankfully nobody was hurt, which is a minor miracle actually. This kind of accident occurs in my city just about every day and that has to stop.

    So drone on if you wish, invent whatever conspiracy theories you wish, play your fun game of second guess. Only this.

    Never call me a hypocrite. I don’t play that.

    My support of this program is singularly tied to the fact that it saves lives and makes us safer. If that ever turns out to be untrue, I will no longer support it. I do not care and never have if we make money on it or not. I’d prefer to make some but I don’t care if it loses money either. Safer roads for my residents is worth paying for.

    There’s a big difference between fun TV and fun newspapers and the serious business of governance. I’m glad that in Pembroke Pines we take our jobs seriously. I’m not phased one inch to the contrary.

    Red Light Cameras Save Lives. Please drive carefully.

    All the best,

    Angelo

    FROM BUDDY:

    Thanks for participating, Angelo.

    Remember that I was just reporting on a TV story. The story stated that the camera was at the location. I checked Google maps before I did the post and that is the southern entrance to Century Village.

    Even if north-south street is wrong, it was videotaped at the southern entrance to the Village. They had footage of cars turning right into the complex.

    The NTSHA can say anything they want and maybe they figure these things a different way. My stats comes from the Florida Department of Highway Safety directly from accident reports.

    By the way, do you know how many deaths statewide occurred where running a red light is a contributing cause– less than 60? Less than the number of counties in the state. Too many, but not the major risk in driving.

    As far as live TV feeds deterring crime, I don’t believe it. When you catch somebody from the cameras, tell me about it.

    The cops want it because they see it as a source of revenue to keep them employed.

    The bottom line is that this didn’t become an issue until cities, always on the lookout for new revenue, found a way to make money.

    If safety was such an issue in the past, why didn’t you put motorcycle cops at the dangerous intersection until it wasn’t an issue anymore? An actual officer is more of a deterrent because they are very visible.

    If safety is the only issue, do you really think all these lobbyists would be pouring into every city in Broward and statewide to sell this thing. No, money is driving this as it drives much in politics.

    If safety is the only issue and not the money, why not donate the city’s share to Mothers Against Drunk Driving or the National Safety Institute? I didn’t think so.

    The Florida League of Cities is a little more honest than most local officials. In a news release about defending red light cameras, they do emphasize the safety aspect.

    Then the league slips in the lines “Due to budget constraints and unfunded mandates, local governments have limited law enforcement resources. Photo enforcement helps stretch limited resources.”

    Money, my friend, Angelo. Money. Why doesn’t any elected admit it?

  13. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:

    Dear Floridan,

    Century Village residents have specifically asked me to request that the city camera enforce the NO RIGHT ON RED sign at 136th and Pines.

    We had taken a position not to enforce any red light right turns because of the rolling red issue. It makes for sloppy decision making when it comes to enforcement. But where no turn on red is permitted at all, we are thinking about whether camera enforcement at those locations makes sense. It might, and the residents of Century Village hope we vote that way.

    Angelo

  14. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:

    Buddy,

    With all respect to Google. I live there, OK. 129th is NOT the southern entrance to Century Village. That location lies East of the entrance. Most of the information on that TV show was incorrect. There’s no doubt on this one.

    Sounds to me like they were taping 136th Avenue, not 129th. We have no cameras near any gatehouse.

    As to live feeds and crime deterrance, I hope you’re not offended by the suggestion, but I’ll take my advice on that subject from cops. They like the cameras on safety and crime prevention. They want bad guys to know we have cameras. Let them go someplace else and rob banks or worse. Not in my city is a very good policy for police to have in every city.

    Second, you’ve seen me in public office for nearly 20 years in this town and I can’t imagine you thinking I’ve ever been unafraid to say what’s on my mind or tell lies. So I’ll say it one last time.

    Third, untrue as to when this came up. You need to call me when you have questions and stop making guesses on stuff. We started discussing red light cameras years ago Buddy, way before the recession, how can you suggest a thing like that when it’s so clearly untrue? I can’t speak for any other city but mine. We’ve been planning for a red light camera program since at least 2005.

    Money is not today and has never been a motivator when it comes to red light cameras. For me it has always been about safety on our roads. I would have been willing to pay extra to achieve that outcome.

    Spending whatever we get on Mothers Against Drunk Driving sounds like a pretty good idea to me. I count on camera fines for zero help with the budget, that’s for sure.

    You people imagine the most amazing stuff! When all you have to do is ask. Why in the world would I say this stuff if I didn’t feel strongly that it was the right thing to do?

    Angelo

  15. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:

    Buddy,

    Forgot to respond to your motorcycle cop question. It’s too expensive to put a cop on every corner or any more corners. Residents want safer streets in communities they can afford to call home. We can’t tax our way out of every problem but we can find smart and cost effective ways to enforce the law. Perhaps that’s what the League meant by “limited means.”

    Angelo

  16. Duke says:

    Red light cameras are a scam. It’s all in the congressional report. They take a yellow light that should be 4 seconds long, and cut it down to about 2 seconds.. if that. We will never eliminate red light running entirely. Best way to combat it is to increase the yellow time, not decrease it.

  17. Duke says:

    May I add that the companies and the municipalities that employ these cameras will never agree to increase the yellow time, because the cameras would then be unprofitable. It’s a scam of major proportion being perpetrated on the citizenry of Florida.

  18. Stone Cold's Bottom Line says:

    to “Commissioner Angelo Castillo:

    You are a great leader and I respect your candor and leadership and love your style.

    Red lights camera enforcement is in general a great thing and does save lives BUT

    in our state, the F@*$!@%ing State Legislature has messed this issue up, for years, let alone the garbage legislation they finally passed after a good decade and a half of outright just blowing it.

    This program works well in many states but is an unmitigated disaster in our state. Amigo, fold your hand on this issue and toss in your cards. With the legislation we have in place and the mindset of the enforcing bodies, it is and will continue to be a disaster.

    Respectully, Stones Cold’s Bottom Line BECAUSE I said so!

    P.S. Hey, Commish Ang, what’s up with your City Manager?! He has bankrupted your city! He got to go!

  19. Stone Cold's Bottom Line says:

    to “Duke”:

    don’t be an ignoraumus! if implemented and executed properly, they are a success and effective. Read my previous response and get straight, son.

    Remember, your mind is a horrible thing to waste.

    To Commissioner Castillo, still waiting to hear from you.

  20. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:

    To Stone Cold:

    Thanks for understanding our need for red light camera enforcement. It’s hard sometimes protect citizen safety, but very easy to play politics and do nothing. We elect our leaders to confront tough issues and make quality decisions on our behalf. That’s what I will continue doing. I was recently re-elected with 87% of the vote even as red light cameras was probably the top issue in the campaign. This tells me people in my city understand this issue very well and support it.

    You ask about City Manager Dodge.
    Charlie is a historic figure in our city, easily one of the top three most important figures our city has ever produced. His years of service guiding the city through huge westward growth, ensuring our tax base was balanced by rediential and commercial components, creating the charter school system, building a city from the ground up — much of what exists in Pines today is directly attributable to Charlie Dodge. He will give others the credit because that’s what city managers do. But most of it was Charlie. He is a man of substance. Very capable. He can be hard as nails yet smooth as silk. It takes talent to be that and nobody should underestimate Charlie Dodge when it comes to ability.

    I have three basic issues with him as a leader.

    First, his management style involves manipulation through information. He gives you just enough information to sway you in the direction he wants but not enough that you may go the other way. If you’re not careful you fall into that trap. I realized this some years ago and have had to work much harder than I should to avoid it. That is my most serious issue with him. We have discussed it many times and he has to date refused to change.

    Second, he and his staff are too often silent on issues before the City Commission. His style is to keep staff from speaking their minds on issues. We have some very talented professionals working in Pines. Many feel they can’t speak up out of respect to the Commisison. I find that disrespectful actually, on multiple levels, and feel that any management culture that promotes not speaking up is wrong. No good idea, no strong concern, no professional objection should ever be withheld from us as decision makers. I’ve spoken to Charlie about this also, he refuses to adjust.

    Last, his employment contract is excessive by any standard. I have voted against it each and every time.

    You raise him putting us in bankruptcy and I assume you are referring to the city’s pension deals. While the buck needs to stop somewhere but I think it’s fair to say that unreliable actuarial reports played a serious role in those events. Faulty actuarial advice has plagued many US cities that struggle with pension issues today.

    When an actuary tells you that a deal is sustaninable you have reason to rely on that judgment. I think only a fool follows that advice today. It is not true anymore but it used to be.

    That’s why I was so insistent on getting an independent Commission Auditor. The voters approved that move this past November and I look forward to the checks and balances that function should begin to provide us before we take votes.

    I hope that answers your question.

    Angelo

  21. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:

    Duke,

    I have said this many times before regarding yellow light durations. This is a call mostly made by FDOT and Broward County. If those traffic engineers want to extend the yellow lights, I have no problem with it. Traffic engineers have told me their only concern is that it further delays rush hour traffic and over time encourages more speeding. But if that’s what they want, I have no issue.

    As to lowering the yellow light timeframes, not in my city. On Pines Boulevard, for example, the duration is set at 4 seconds per light with a one second delay on red to green in any direction. That’s the standard based on our speed limit. If any of you see the slightest deviation from that, call me at (954) 436-3266 and I will go there personally to time the light for you.

    We are not looking to create conditions for issuing tickets. That is unethical. We are simply trying to enforce the law fairly and promote safe driving. Anybody out there that sees anything about the Pines program deviating even slighly from that philosophy, call me personally and I will look into it immediately. OK?

    Angelo

  22. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:

    Stone Cold,

    I wrote you an extended answer that somehow didn’t get posted perhaps I messed it up. But basically it said that Charlie is a very gifted guy that has done much for the city, probably one of the top three most important figures in our city’s history to date.

    But he manipulates information as part of his management style, is not as forthright in standing up to the Commission as I would expect from him and staff, and I object to the size of his contract. Apart from that, I have respect for the manager. He is undeniably a very talented guy.

    As to bankrupting the city, we were fooled by bad actuarial advice when the pension deals crafted in 2003 went down. Many cities in America can tell you the same story about those bond financed pension deals and how actuarial reports were just terrible. This is why I was so ardent about having a Commission Auditor, answerable only to the city commission, and thankful that our voters approved that measure this past November. I feel the need for independent advice that I can trust before I vote. I do not always get that, sometimes because of “information management” and other times for lack of someone willing to confront what’s put in front of them. Soon the City Commission will have a tool to help against that problem — an independent City Auditor.

    Thanks for the quesiton and your understanding the need for our red light program. 87% of my residents voted for me in my last election when red light camera enforcement was the hot topic issue. So I feel pretty confident saying that my city’s residents support the need for this method of intervention to make our roads safer.

    Angelo

    Angelo

  23. Stone Cold's Bottom Line says:

    to Commissioner Castillo:

    1) Thanks for your response, pawdner! Love the red light program, but Commish, you gotta admit, it has been a boondogle in our state, where due to our legislature, many well intended programs don’t pan out, due to the Tallahassee mentaility which results in flawed legislation, implementation and interpretation. Commish, until they resolve same in Tally, and especially with Red lights, the program can’t succeed and unfortunately, needs to be suspended and / or have the plug pulled on it. It pains me to say that, but if the medication ain’t working, it has to stop.

    2) as it regards your City Manager, what you’re saying is he is talented, but slippery and not forthcoming. like I said, he gotta go!
    can’t have people that are forthright as leaders. look what he did to you guys by conning the commission into meeting in the shade, with his ruse of a sole source to some private group and saying it was covered by collective bargaining, a bunch of crap cooked up by him and his staff.

    lookin’ forward to hearing from you and keep up ‘da fight!

  24. Commissioner Keith S. London says:

    I for one have NEVER voted to support Red Light Traffic cameras.

    It is all about the money (revenue) not public safety.

    The first time I ever heard about Red Light Traffic Cameras coming into The City of Hallandale Beach was during a budget meeting. City Manager Mike Good, Mayor Cooper and the police department spoke for 45 minutes about all the revenue (tax and fees) the city could make with these devices.

    After listening to the glowing remarks about millions of dollars coming into Hallandale Beach with little to no opportunity for the public to receive due process in a court of law I inquired about the “public safety” of the program.

    That’s when the back tracking started and I received a whole five minutes on the public safety aspect. In addition the police department expected an INCREASE in rear end traffic collisions.

    If you receive a red light traffic ticket in Hallandale Beach go to court and fight the ticket the Hallandale Beach City Attorney is not appearing and all the cases are being dismissed for lack of prosecution.

    The truth these devices are there to collect taxes and fees not for public safety!

    Commissioner Keith S. London
    Hallandale Beach

  25. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:

    Stone Cold,

    Red light cameras raise eyebrows in every state at first. Then the people see that it reduces accidents, injuries and deaths. From there, with strong leadership, it should reduce auto rates. I want our experience to take us in that direction. If uit fails to fulfill that promise, I will pull the plug on it myself. In my city, people are already driving safer and we’ve seen a reduction in the number of violations at the locations where we have cameras. That suggests the program is working.

    When I think of boondogle, I think of efforts that are a waste of time. I would not conclude that way in connection with this effort but that’s just me.

    Talented and slippery have become common traints in CEO’s but business decisions have to be made with due care. CEO’s are judged on their results. I have seen lots of this kind of thing in government and the private sector. My style is to place greater emphasis on outcomes than process or style. I am a bottom line, outcome oriented guy open to different approaches, that’s my style. I get what you’re saying and have my eye on it. Thanks.

    Angelo

  26. Duke says:

    Dear Stone Cold and Commissioner Castillo:May I respectfully suggest that you both Google “The Red Light Running Crisis.. Is It A Scam”.. and read the congressional report. It is a scam of major proportion.Additionally,look at every intersection in your city and then tell me that all yellow times are the same. Cities pick and choose. Commissioner Castillo, I appreciate your response.With all due respect, you gotta do better than blaming decreased yellow times on FDOT and the county. If true, you should be fighting them every step of the way. This scam will come to an end soon enough, then the class action lawsuits will start. How much $$$ is that gonna cost?

  27. Red Light Runner says:

    Commissioner London:

    Thank you for telling us Hallandale Beach will not enforce red light violations and is now a haven for red light runners. That is great news for all who want to run red lights. Some will travel to Hallandale Beach to finally enjoy the opportunity to run the red lights with impunity. Is this part of your economic development plan, marketing around the US: “Tired of Tickets, come to Hallandale Beach”

    The costs of enforcement have just become too great. Those violators are smart. Hire lawyers. Jam the courts. Follow your advice to fiht every ticket. Find a couple of judges who let them go free. Then, we can be sure no money is made.

    Hopefully, you will be able to expand this traffic violation immunity program to all those other pesky traffic laws. It will be great for Hallandale Beach. Wonder if others will follow?

    While you are at it, those cameras in all the stores, even the ones we can’t see, need to go. Those too are all about money. Stopping us from shoplifting or robberies. Do you have any malls in Hallandale Beach? Maybe you can expand your anti-camera-its-all- about-the-money-and-serve-no-public-safety-purpose program to other alleged public safety uses.

    I agree with you that all the safety data is a bunch of numbers. So what. It may be you will get a call from a mother or father who lost a child in a red light violation collision, or who is now disabled for life. But, you will be able to take the higher ground and tell them it was all about money and never about safety.

    Congratulations on taking a stand on the most important issue our society faces.

  28. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:

    Keith,

    In my city camera enforcement has already begun making our roads safer. But hey, I’m always open to better approaches. So tell me, do you oppose the camera program because red light running is not a problem Hallandale?

    If it is a problem, what better approach do you recommend to addressing it? More cops is a pretty big expense. If not that, then what solution do you propose?

    Angelo

  29. Truth About Red Light Cameras says:

    This report on the Congressional Hearing July 1, 2010 needs to be read by Angelo Castillo. There are two sides to the story which he doesn’t understand.

    At a congressional hearing Wednesday, members expressed increasingly skeptical views toward the safety claims made by the usual cast of advocates for photo enforcement. The US House Transportation Subcommittee on Highways and Transit invited five representatives of the familiar groups that advocate expanded use of red light cameras and speed cameras. In presentations before the committee and written testimony, however, members seemed to be more swayed by what the two camera opponents that appeared had to say.

    “I had never heard, until I read the testimony, about people potentially tinkering with the yellow light period,” subcommittee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon) explained in an interview following the hearing.

    Cities in DeFazio’s congressional district, which covers the southwest corner of the state, have not embraced cameras. For that reason, DeFazio said he previously had not given much thought to the issue. The hearing was scheduled at the request of ranking member John J. Duncan (R-Tennessee). The city of Knoxville, which is in his district, uses cameras and has stirred up his constituents.

    “A lot of people talked to me about it,” Duncan said. “In addition, it was a real controversial thing in the last session of the Tennessee legislature.”

    Georgia state Representative Barry Loudermilk (R-Cassville) appeared before the committee to testify regarding the controversy in his state over the use of red light cameras and his proposed solution to the problems the machines raised.

    “We started realizing that there was a questionable effect on safety,” Loudermilk said. “Accident rates have increased at several key intersections in the state… There was a financial incentive created by the use of red light cameras that local governments were no longer induced to seek out proven engineering methods to improve intersection safety. As a result, we passed House Bill 77… The key component of House Bill 77 was requiring an additional second to be added to the yellow time at any intersection that operates photo enforcement.”

    The benefit of the change was immediate. Violations plunged up to 81 percent and several cities dumped their photo ticketing programs once they no longer were profitable. Dan Danila with the National Motorists Association pointed out how unpopular ticketing programs have been rejected in eleven cities and by fifteen states. DeFazio picked up on the unpopularity by noting that private companies like Redflex and American Traffic Solutions failed to appear at the hearing.

    “We did invite vendors, and they refused,” DeFazio said during the hearing. “I thought of subpoenaing them, but we have lots of other things to do. I find it disturbing that none of them wanted to come and talk about what a great thing they’re doing for America here.”

    DeFazio suggested he would like to see national legislation to address some of the problems. Such laws would only apply in cases where federal safety grants are distributed to localities to fund the use of automated ticketing machines.

    “If you were going to use federal funds for automated traffic enforcement, we want to see that you’ve gone through a thoughtful process and evaluated other alternatives and that this is for safety, not revenue purposes,” DeFazio said after the hearing.

  30. RA says:

    Red Light Runner:

    Its clear Comm Londo didn’t say his City wouldn’t enforce the law…he only told you what is public information…IF YOU FIGHT THESE TICKETS, THEY WILL BE DISMISSED…ALL RED LIGHT CAM TICKETS HAVE BEEN DISMISSED

    Commissioner Castillo:
    You have failed to answer why you support an effort to continue this system of supporting the top LOBBYISTS for ATS….Didn’t you learn last year that voters know when you support LOBBYISTS, thats why you lost your county commission race

  31. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:

    Dear Truth:

    In Pembroke Pines, we don’t tinker with Yellow Lights. We can’t. We’re not the traffic engineering staff, the county is. What you’re referring to is a quality control measure on yellow light durations. I’m all for that.

    Angelo

  32. Red Light Runner says:

    RA: You are so correct. All he said was, if you run a red light in Hallandale Beach, and it happens that a camera caught you, and if you fight the ticket despite being guilty, the City will make sure there is no lawyer there to prosecute you. I think that is a great service to the residents of Hallandale Beach and those who happen to wander through. It makes it so much easier to have Commissioners supporting that non-prosecution effort.

    Let’s expand that program to where officers actually see you too.

    Let’s expand that non-prosecution to all other violations caught by cameras.

    I see a new political party emerging. NO CAMERAS ANYWHERE (except for reply in football, maybe baseball, last 2 minutes of basketball).

  33. Duke says:

    For as many intersections as there are in southern Florida, that’s how much the time on yellow lights differs. Drive through one town, and they might be 4 seconds. Go to the next town, and it’s 2 seconds.We will never totally eliminate red light running. But here’s a way to curb it. Make every yellow light at least 5 seconds long, with a numeric countdown system. This will let people know precisely how much time they have to squeeze the lemon.Eliminate the guess work!!!

  34. Red Light Runner says:

    Duke: YEA! Let’s encourage people to drive faster to and through the intersections with less prosecutions. It will eliminate those rear-end accidents RA speculates so much about and worries about, rather than big impact crashes.

    Here is one benefit of intersections with “drive-a-bit-faster-clocks-with-everyone-knowin’-longer yellows-non prosecution posted signs : it will encourage more seat belt use because you now will be really be risking big impacts. That is a true public safety plan.

  35. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:

    RA:

    The thing I like most about Keith London is his candor. He will speak for himself on this and all issues. We share that trait.

    Lobbyists and politics don’t affect my vote and never have. These are distractions people sometimes point to when they come up thin on the merits of an argument. Go look at my voting record and see. My vote has nothing to do with lobbysits. I studied this issue very carefully and concluded that red light camera enforcement are a no brainer win for people that want safer roads. The only losers are reckless drivers.

    As to elections and lobbyists or how people vote — none of that phases me. It doesn’t influence my votes. I just don’t operate on that frequency. I vote my conscience and let tomorrow be tomorrow. More important that I do my duty today. Thanks.

    Angelo

  36. Frank White says:

    Studies have consistantly shown (and personal anticdotes prove) that it may make that intersection safer, at the expense of the intersections on alternate routes.

  37. Red Light Runner says:

    Studies show that if you don’t run a red light, at any intersection, you don’t get ticketed.

    Studies show that if people do not tail-gate you as you approach a light, and you stop for the red light, they do not run into you.

    Studies show …

    Come on Mr. White, give us the link to your studies and personal anecdotes (I assume you were trying to spell “antidotes” which are those things that neutralize or counteract effects of a poison. Here is an example used in a sentence: The Red light camera is an antidote for running red lights for some people).

  38. Mr. Science says:

    Dear Mr. White:

    Personal anecdotes NEVER prove anything. They are simply unscientific observations. Studies prove something.

    Let me show you what I mean.

    Your personal anecdotes are some singular observations from some unidentified people which they say people run more red lights in other intersections. No data accumulated and hardly scientific. Relying on personal anecdotes to prove anything is folly of the small mind.

    The Insurance Institute ran a scientifically valid long term study that proved fatalities decreased dramatically in cities that utilized red light cameras. It relied on data over 4 years and tracked/recorded that data.

    So, personal anecdotes are just that — personal thoughts that may be observed, but can never be used alone to scientifically prove a point because cause and effect are not ever drawn from such silliness. Studies can prove a point.

    See you at the FCAT review.

  39. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:

    Hey Keith:

    You out there buddy? Eager to hear from you. Regards.

    Angelo

  40. Red-Light Cameras Increase Accidents says:

    The Red-Light Running Crisis: Is It Intentional?
    Office of the Majority Leader
    U.S. House of Representatives
    May 2001

    This report was prepared by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey’s staff. It looks at the problems of red-light cameras and how to really deal with traffic-light violations.

    Quoted from the study:

    “And one should ask the question, if there’s a problem with an intersection, why don’t safety engineers in the field just go out and fix the timing?

    In fact, before red light cameras arrived in the United States, that’s exactly what our regulations instructed them to do. If too many people enter on red at an intersection, engineers were supposed to lengthen its yellow time. But in the year that red light cameras first started collecting millions in revenue on our shores, those entrusted with developing our traffic safety regulations dropped the requirement to fix signal timing, instructing engineers to “use enforcement”
    instead.

    Indeed, according to the Federal Highway Administration, these problem intersections serve as a great location to hold a press conference. The agency offers a script for local officials to exploit a tragically mistimed intersection to call for the installation of additional red light cameras and
    tout their safety benefits.

    But none of the reports that are supposed to tell us that red light cameras are responsible safety benefits actually say that. First, they dismiss increases in
    rear-end collisions associated with red light cameras as “non-significant,” despite evidence to the contrary. Second, they do not actually look at red light intersection accidents. The latest accident study in Oxnard, California, for example, only documents accident reductions “associated with”—not caused by— red light cameras. Although that statement has little scientific value, it does have
    great marketing appeal if you don’t look too closely.

    Every study claiming red light cameras increase safety is written by the same man. Before joining the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), he was a top transportation official in New York City at the time the city began looking into becoming the first jurisdiction in the country to install red light cameras. In other words, the father of the red light camera in America is the same individual offering the “objective” testimony that they are effective.

    A similar conflict of interest affects those entrusted with writing safety regulations for our traffic lights. The Institute of Transportation Engineers is
    actively involved in lobbying for, and even drafting legislation to implement, red light cameras. They are closely tied to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), which in turn is funded by companies that stand to profit handsomely any time points are assessed to a driver’s license.

    In short, the only documented benefit to red light cameras is to the pocketbook of local governments who use the devices to collect millions in revenue.”

    Download The Full Study:
    http://www.motorists.org/photoenforce/dickarmeyfinalreport.pdf

  41. Mr. Science says:

    Lesson #2: Politically inspired decade old “studies” should be questioned, especially where a more recent long term study actually accumulated data in the US and involved the insurance institute — meant to reduce accidents and claims.

    Lesson #3: In explaining differences in apparent scientific conclusions, it is appropriate to point out limitations. To ascribe motive and then say that is the ONLY reason (the ONLY reason is for money) undermines the power of the author’s argument. More persuasive to suggest the bias issues, but recognize there may in fact be a benefit from the lights. Of course, because this is only an advocacy piece, the author can not even admit the possibility lights may save lives. In identifying potential bias, the author highlights their own bias.

    See you at FCAT review too.

  42. Red-Light Cameras Increase Accidents says:

    The Impact of Red Light Cameras (Photo-Red Enforcement) on Crashes in Virginia
    Virginia Transportation Research Council
    June 2007

    The Virginia Transportation Research Council released a report expanding upon earlier research into the safety effects of red light cameras in Virginia.

    Despite showing an increase in crashes, this study was instrumental in the return of red-light cameras to the state of Virginia. With a proven negative safety impact, the clear incentive to bring back the cameras was money.

    Quotes from the study:

    “After cameras were installed, rear-end crashes increased for the entire six-jurisdiction study area… After controlling for time and traffic volume at each intersection, rear-end crash rates increased by an average of 27% for the entire study area.”

    “After cameras were installed, total crashes increased.”

    “The impact of cameras on injury severity is too close to call.”

    “Based only on the study results presented herein and without referencing other studies, the study did not show a definitive safety benefit associated with camera installation with regard to all crash types, all crash severities, and all crash jurisdictions.”

    Download The Full Study: http://www.motorists.org/photoenforce/2007Virginia.pdf

  43. Red-Light Cameras Increase Accidents says:

    Investigation Of Crash Risk Reduction Resulting From Red-Light Cameras In Small Urban Areas
    Mark Burkey, Ph.D. & Kofi Obeng, Ph.D.
    North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University
    July 2004

    A study prepared by the North Carolina A&T State University’s Urban Transit Institute for the United States Department of Transportation.

    Quoted from the study:

    “Using a large data set, including 26 months before the introduction of RLCs, we analyze reported accidents occurring near 303 intersections over a 57-month period, for a total of 17,271 observations. Employing maximum likelihood estimation of Poisson regression models, we find that:

    The results do not support the view that red light cameras reduce crashes. Instead, we find that RLCs are associated with higher levels of many types and severity categories of crashes.”

    Download The Full Study:
    http://www.motorists.org/photoenforce/Burkey_Obeng_Updated_Report_2004.pdf

  44. Red-Light Cameras Increase Accidents says:

    Evaluation of the Red-Light-Camera-Enforcement Pilot Project
    Ontario Ministry of Transportation
    December 2003

    This report from Ontario, Canada’s Ministry of Transportation’s concluded that jurisdictions using photo enforcement experienced an overall increase in property damage and fatal and injury rear-end collisions. The report also concludes that there was an overall reduction in serious accidents and angle collisions. However, a closer look at the data found in this government-sponsored report show that intersections monitored by cameras experienced, overall, a 2 percent increase in fatal and injury collisions compared to a decrease of 12.7 percent in the camera-free intersections that were used as a control group (page 21).

    In fact, the non-camera intersections fared better than the camera intersections in every accident category.

    Quoted from the study:

    “Exhibit 2 indicates the red light running treatments have:

    * Contributed to a 4.9 per cent increase in fatal and injury rear-end collisions; and
    * Contributed to a 49.9 per cent increase in property damage only rear-end collisions.

    The rear-end collision results are similar to findings in other red light camera studies.”

    Download The Full Study: http://www.motorists.org/photoenforce/2003-ontario.pdf

  45. Red-Light Cameras Increase Accidents says:

    Los Angeles Red Light Cameras Lead To Increased Accidents
    November 10th, 2009

    Thanks to an excellent piece of investigative journalism by David Goldstein of Los Angeles television station KCAL, motorists are getting the real accident numbers at Los Angeles camera-enforced intersections.

    The city has claimed that the cameras reduced accidents by 34%, but a little fact-checking proved this assertion wrong:

    Is it money or safety? We wanted to know actual numbers of accidents at red light camera intersections to see if they really went down.

    When we asked, the LAPD became very defensive. The sergeant in charge told me in an e-mail, “The city would hope that it is the goal of KCBS/KCAL to discuss the positive aspects of the photo red light program.”

    So we filed a public records request. The department charged us more than $500 for a computer run. When we got the numbers back, they told a different story.

    We looked at every accident at every red light camera intersection for six months of data before the cameras were installed and six months after.

    The final figures? Twenty of the 32 intersections show accidents up after the cameras were installed! Three remained the same and only nine intersections showed accidents decreasing.

    Charging extravagant prices for information requests is a common tactic by cities with ticket camera programs who are trying to hide unfavorable results (one city recently took it one step further and just stopped keeping track once they figured out that accidents were increasing.)

    KCAL’s investigation found that several ticket camera intersections in Los Angeles had as many as three times the number of accidents:

    At Manchester Avenue and Figueroa Street, accidents more than tripled from five before the cameras were installed to 16 afterwards. Westwood Boulevard and Wilshire Boulevard tripled from three to nine. At Rodeo Road and La Brea Avenue, collisions nearly tripled from seven in the six months before the cameras were installed to 20 in the same period afterwards.

    So why did accidents increase at camera-enforced accidents?

    “People see the light flash and they slam on their brakes,” [local attorney Sherman] Ellison said. “That’s just human nature. As a result, more accidents, more rear end accidents.”

    That’s what happened to Dale Stephens, who knew the yellow light up ahead had a camera.

    “Because I had that in the back of my mind I knew I had to stop. And it’s so expensive to get a ticket I knew I had to stop. Well they had no inclination to stop,” Stephens said.

    “They” are the two cars that hit him from behind.

    David Goldstein: “Do you think the red light camera caused the accident?”

    Dale Stephens: “Yes, definitely.”

    He’s not alone. Study after study show that red-light cameras can actually cause accidents and some cities are taking notice.

    Montclaire, Upland, El Monte and Fullerton all discontinued red-light cameras in part because of accidents. Huntington Beach broke its contract before it even officially began.

    “There are quite a few studies out there that will show an increase in rear end accidents in these intersections,” a spokesperson from the Huntington Beach Police said.

    Thanks to this investigation, at least one city councilman is considering re-evaluating the red light camera program:

    [Los Angeles] Councilman [Dennis] Zine says all accidents should be evaluated. He had been told accidents were down due to the cameras and didn’t know the LAPD was excluding many collisions until I told him.

    “If that’s the case, we need to re-evaluate this program if in fact we are having more collisions,” Councilman Zine said.

    He says he will take the issue to the City Council because the contract for the cameras is up soon. And if they conclude, as we did, that accidents are up, the red light cameras may soon be coming down.

    Thankfully, shutting down ticket camera programs is becoming quite a trend these days.

    http://blog.motorists.org/la-red-light-cameras-increase-accidents/

  46. Red-Light Cameras Increase Accidents says:

    Mr. Science – note that the “politically inspired” & biased study is the one YOU are quoting, the one from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (bold print and italics added):

    Every study claiming red light cameras increase safety is written by the same man. Before joining the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), he was a top transportation official in New York City at the time the city began looking into becoming the first jurisdiction in the country to install red light cameras. In other words, the father of the red light camera in America is the same individual offering the “objective” testimony that they are effective.

    A similar conflict of interest affects those entrusted with writing safety regulations for our traffic lights. The Institute of Transportation Engineers is
    actively involved in lobbying for, and even drafting legislation to implement, red light cameras. They are closely tied to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), which in turn is funded by companies that stand to profit handsomely any time points are assessed to a driver’s license.

    In short, the only documented benefit to red light cameras is to the pocketbook of local governments who use the devices to collect millions in revenue.”

    Download The Full Study:
    http://www.motorists.org/photoenforce/dickarmeyfinalreport.pdf

  47. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:

    This is getting silly.

    Look, why Congress is even wasting time looking at a purely state and local issue is beyond me. Seems to me there’s enough on their plate to keep them busy.

    I can tell you this much — Pembroke Pines runs a much better city than Florida does a state or than DC runs a country. Here in my city we don’t complain about problems, we solve them. You won’t find do-nothing, grandstanding, nowhere bureaucrats in my city. Whatever else goes on, in my city we solve problems.

    Not everybody is going to like the solutions, we ourselves included. But we come up with the best solutions available to the problems in front of us. We keep an open mind to finding better ones. Of course I understand that some may not like the idea of camera enforcement. Fine. What is your better solution and if you can’t think of one then perhaps what we are doing is the best way. I’ve looked. My conclusion is this is the smartest, most effective way to address the problem.

    To complain without offering a viable alternative is nowhere folks. We need to reject that tendency. It’s unsatisfying and nowhere. Put something on the table that solves the problem better.

    Light synchonization, yellow light durations, keeping quality control on traffic signals — we are for all of that. But all those are Broward County chores to address. They are the ones under contract with cities to perform traffic engineering. They get paid for that job. They recognize that they have not done as good a job as they could and recently offered some promising news on that score. I hope it holds up.

    Yet even the best synchronized traffic signalization won’t change the fact that way too many drivers are driving through standing red lights. They cause serious injury, deaths and super inflated auto insurance premiums.

    That is the problem. Focus on it. Don’t ignore it, don’t excuse it away, confront it and solve it.

    All of these distractions thrown out there like fine revenues and the “true” motivations of elected officials — I mean seriously. Who expects any of that to be taken seriously?

    What, we build prisons and prosecute criminals to make money? We fine violators to make money? Government has no true public interest in enforcing the laws? Please.

    A fine is a penalty for breaking a civil law and those penalties provide disincentives to breaking the laws. To suggest otherwise is empty cynicism. It is an emotional attempt at overcoming an argument that lacks merit. If you don’t want red light enforcement, then eliminate the law and let people drive through all the red lights they want. How many takers out there for that solution?

    Get over it. Just stop for the light like you’re supposed to and we all win. Let’s get serious about managing our problems and stop allowing the problems to manage us.

    Drive safely. Over and out. Peace.

    Angelo

    PS — Rear end collisions are caused by reckless drivers that won’t keep a proper distance from the car in front of them. It is total nonsense to blame enforcement efforts for that result. The victims here are not those that get the tickets but those hurt by the violation. They are the ones we need to protect.

  48. Red-Light Cameras Increase Accidents says:

    Commissioner Castillo, here is the better solution:

    1) You claim that you are trying to save lives. However, the evidence shows that RLCs increase collisions. Therefore, the way to save lives is to remove the RLCs and revert to the status quo ante.

    2)You admit that “Light synchonization, yellow light durations, keeping quality control on traffic signals [...] all those are Broward County chores to address [...] They are the ones under contract with cities to perform traffic engineering.” Thus, as a city commissioner, you should vigorously avoid RLCs and similar dysfunctional schemes, and focus instead on your job, which includes properly managing the city’s traffic engineering contract with Broward County so as to ensure that Broward County performs these duties to the city’s satisfaction.

  49. Stone Cold's Bottom Line says:

    to Commissioner Castillo:

    love your thoughts, man!

    BUT how long has it taken for your city to put up the cameras, from the time you initiated the program…what, 3 years or so… your vendor came up with every excuse in the book and bottom line, cuz’ I say so (I am Stone Cold, you know) is that you have had a stagnant, mired in the muck program…the legislation finally passed in Tally sucks and makes the implementation of the programs a joke…various litigations are flying around…
    I love the idea of red light camera enforcement but damned, the road blocks are there and the state’s mind set is horrible…

    Commish, it is time to pull the plug.

    Respectfully, Stone Cold’s Bottom Line

    p.s. re. your City Manager, to be redundant, if he is slippery and sneaky, he don’t need to be leading any city! I don’t give a shit how smart he is and what he has done well;
    TRUST RULES!!!!!
    you know he has mishandled a bunch of stuff, and also hurt your city.

    Again, Respectfully, Stone Cold’s Bottom Line (look forward to any more of your thoughts..)

  50. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:

    Stone Cold:

    Great question.

    We in Pines started discussing red light camera enforcement shortly after I was first elected, so let’s say around 2005.

    Residents were complaining about traffic and safety. In fact, the same year Pines won the All America Award, which is a big honor for any city, Sue Katz beat Alex Fekete for Mayor and one of the big themes was road safety.

    We began planning to widen many of our roads and fix the infamous Flamingo intersection called “America’s Worst” by All State Insurance (honestly, as a former NYC boy, I can think of many worse but I digress). Today it’s one of the safest.

    At the time we were paying $100K for ever new police officer, that’s salary, benefits and overhead (car, gas, etc.) and estimates were we’d need possibly 40 new cops to patrol our intersections. That’s a lot of money. And then you have to run those violators down, pull them over ticket them, it’s a lot of down time.

    Camera enforcement is foolproof. It costs municipalities nothing and never has downtime. It is thousands of times more effective for red light enforcement than posting officers. Problem was we had no legal mechanism to implement it.

    We went to Tallahassee and sought to get a law. They liked the concept but couldn’t get it done. We got tired and decided AS WE ALWAYS DO not to take NO for an answer when it comes to saving lives. Remember — ours is the city that insurance companies said had the most dangerous intersection. Our auto rates our outrageously high. The way to improve that is by reducing claims.

    Sam Goren’s lawyers come up with a cconcept — make it a code violation. We got a legal opinion on it from the AG’s office. It made sense. We decided to give it a go. Suddenly, Tallahasee woke up and passed a statute last year. That’s what took so long. Now we are in the “birth pains” era of the statute where judges are messing around with evidentiary rules and so forth. We will get passed that and like every other jurisdiction things will calm down and the benefits of the program will flow toward reduced claims.

    Thanks for your comments on the manager. I’ve covered that topic pretty thoroughly.

    Angelo

  51. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:

    To Post 48 –

    I can tell you are sincere about the subject and I wish there was even one word in your post that I could agree with. Unfortunately, there aren’t any. I would be less than candid with you if I said otherwise.

    The evidence that traffic engineering professionals accept, including our county and state traffic engineers, is that red light cameras undoubtedly save lives and improve road safety whenever properly installed as in the case of my city.

    That finding has been made on multiple city, county and state levels nationwide, including the State of Florida, and is decades old and verified. That subject isn’t even up for debate anymore. Serious people in the field made that finding long ago. Safety in connection with the program has long been established.

    Second, while Broward County continues to improve traffic engineering services, there’s absolutely nothing at all about today’s signals and road conditions that threatens the proper implementation of our camera enforcement program. Not moving forward would be to deny our community of the safety benefits and there is no basis for that. One can always have better conditions but at present we meet or exceed all acceptable standards for the program to work well.

    Thanks.

    Angelo

  52. Red-Light Cameras Increase Accidents says:

    Red-Light Cameras Just Don’t Work by Vito Rispo
    August 18th, 2008

    [...] according to study after study, rather than improving motorist safety, red-light cameras significantly increase crashes and therefore, raise insurance premiums. In fact, the only studies that have shown any benefit to red-light cameras were either done by the IIHS…the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, or researchers funded by them. [...]

    The most recent study revealing the truth about the cameras was done by researchers at the University of South Florida College of Public Health.

    “The rigorous studies clearly show red-light cameras don’t work,” said lead author Barbara Langland-Orban, professor and chair of health policy and management at the USF College of Public Health. “Instead, they increase crashes and injuries as drivers attempt to abruptly stop at camera intersections.”

    Comprehensive studies from North Carolina, Virginia, and Ontario have all reported cameras are associated with increases in crashes. The study by the Virginia Transportation Research Council also found that cameras were linked to increased crash costs. The only studies that conclude cameras reduced crashes or injuries contained “major research design flaws,” such as incomplete data or inadequate analyses, and were always conducted by researchers with links to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The IIHS, funded by automobile insurance companies, is the leading advocate for red-light cameras since insurance companies can profit from red-light cameras by way of higher premiums due to increased crashes and citations. [...]

    http://www.ridelust.com/red-light-cameras-just-dont-work/

  53. Red-Light Cameras Increase Accidents says:

    http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/27/2705.asp

    Georgia: Longer Yellows Force City to End Red Light Camera Program
    New Georgia law forces longer yellow times that made red light cameras unprofitable in Norcross.

    The Norcross, Georgia City Council voted Monday to end its relationship with LaserCraft Inc., a red light camera company whose US headquarters lies just
    three miles down the road from city hall. LaserCraft’s troubles began last year when the Georgia General Assembly enacted a law requiring the yellow signal
    warning time at any intersection equipped with a red light camera be increased by one second over the minimum national standard. City documents show that once
    the law took effect, the accident and red light violation problem in Norcross virtually disappeared.

    “With House Bill 77 we are now required to add one second to that… yellow light time,” Norcross Police Chief Dallas Stidd wrote in a memo to the city
    council. “We along with other jurisdictions have seen a significant decrease in citations. This will cause a shortfall in our budget for this program.”

    A pair of red light cameras operated throughout 2008 with the shorter yellow yellow time, allowing LaserCraft to mail an average of fifteen tickets per day
    on the city’s behalf. After the yellow was lengthened on January 1, 2009, that figure dropped eighty percent to just three tickets per day — with devastating
    effect on the program’s bottom line. In 2008, motorists paid $259,083 in citations. According to Stidd’s calculations, the longer yellow meant the automated ticketing program would lose $145,000 in 2009.

    “The addition of one second has made a significant reduction in red light violations,” Stidd wrote. “We have realized a reduction in accidents at the two
    intersections.”

    According to a Texas Transportation Institute study, the reduction in accidents
    and violations from an additional second of yellow was to be expected (view study at http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/02/243.asp). This is so because red
    light cameras do not typically issue very many tickets to blatant red light runners. The vast majority of “violations” happen when drivers misjudge the end
    of the yellow light by less than 0.25 seconds — literally the blink of an eye (view TTI chart at http://www.thenewspaper.com/rlc/pix/violationchart.gif).

    According to a report by the California State Auditor
    [http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/01/116.asp], nearly 80 percent of that state’s tickets were issued for violations that took place less than one second into the
    red. By adding the second back into the yellow, that 80 percent disappeared in Norcross.

    The extra second also brings yellow signal times closer to those that would be appropriate under the 1976 Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) standard. Around the time transportation officials began experimenting with photo
    enforcement, ITE began to change the timing formula so that it would
    consistently produce shorter yellows. [http://www.thenewspaper.com/rlc/reports/rlcreport5.asp] As data from Fairfax County, Virginia show, the benefit of reversing these changes and lengthening yellows does not diminish over time. [...]

  54. Red-Light Cameras Increase Accidents says:

    Accidents increase at Chicago red light camera intersections
    Red light cameras remain controversial, but recent data shows that many of the
    intersections equipped with them in Chicago’s suburbs are actually seeing more accidents than before.

    By Jacqui Cheng | Last updated December 18, 2009 11:29

    The Chicago suburbs are buying into the red light camera movement, but the results are not very positive. The number of accidents actually rose during the first year the cameras were installed in most instances, with another two showing no change whatsoever. The trend reflects what other municipalities are finding when it comes to the alleged “safety” benefits of the cameras. There isn’t any, but that isn’t stopping more cities from cashing in on the increase in tickets.

    The Chicago Tribune put together a handy page [http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-091122-redlight-map,0,1513125.html\
    page] that contains yearly accident data for every red light camera installed in the Chicago metropolitan area from 2006 and 2007. According to the data, the first 14 installed in the suburbs right after they got the green light (ba-dum ching!) in 2006 showed pretty poor results: a full 50 percent saw an increase in accidents after the cameras were installed. In fact, some of the intersections didn’t just show an average increase – some of them were quite significant. At the very least, the cameras don’t seem to be helping, and some believe they are leading to more accidents because more drivers are slamming on the brakes when they come up to an intersection equipped with one.

    Two of the 14 showed no change at all after the cameras were installed, and only five showed a decrease in accidents. Overall, the Illinois Department of Transportation says that accidents either increased or stayed the same at 60 percent of the 47 city intersections where cameras were installed in 2006 and
    2007. [...]

    http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2009/12/accidents-increase-at-chicago-re\
    d-light-camera-intersections.ars

  55. pbm says:

    Geez! For crying out loud!
    Stop for the *&^%^&* red lights like you’re supposed to. Get off the #*&^%^$% cell phone while you’re driving and pay attention to the road. Stop texting nonsense while driving. Drive within the posted limits. If you’re drunk, don’t get on the road. Slow down for yield signs and stop at stop signs. Slow down for blinking school lights. Do what you’re supposed to do and there wouldn’t be this waste of time, all this bickering, and all this total BS!!!! Am I asking for too much???

  56. Stone Cold's Bottom Line says:

    to pbm:

    like what you’re saying, cowboy(or girl?)! agreed whole heartedly!

    i lift my drink at ‘ya!

    Commish Castillo, have enjoyed talking at ‘ya and your talking back at ol’ Stone Cold. Your my cup of tea..naaah, screw ‘dat, your my cup of beer! p.s. toss ‘da manager!

  57. Duke says:

    Red light cameras are a scam. The more you increase the yellow time the less profitable they are. I brought this attention to the commish, who responded that when he mentioned this to the traffic engineers, they expressed concerns that increased yellow times will result in more incidences of speeding once drivers get through the intersection. Is that what they really said Mr. Commish? Cause if that was the real answer that you got, why are you not calling them out on such blatant nonsense. Check the state statutes and see what it says about yellow lights and whether it means to “stop” or “proceed with caution.” Your city is scamming it’s residents and you’re knowingly, willfully, and purposely letting it happen. Why don’t you and your fellow commissioners tell the county that you want every single red light camera to have a yellow light of 4 seconds or MORE and see what happens. If the traffic engineers say no, take them to court. Vigorously fight for your constituents instead of allowing out of state companies to nickle and dime them to death. What a concept.

  58. Wrongly Ticketed says:

    Red light cameras are great…. When they work….

    My husband and I were traveling through Pembroke Pines on a trip to a Marlins game last month. We received a ticket in the mail from one of Pembroke Pines’ red light cameras. After viewing the video, it is quite clear that the light didn’t turn red until we were through the intersection. In fact, our car is out of the frame when the light turns red. You can see the video for yourself here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAS3ymknyrA (It’s easier to see if you watch the video on full screen).

    Our only recourse is to go to court, but we live too far away to make it worth our while, so we are sending an attorney to fight it for us. Still costing us $50 for something we didn’t do, but at least our money won’t line the pockets of this greedy city!!

    FROM BUDDY:
    I encourage anybody who has a problem with a traffic ticket, especially from a red light camera, to go to court.

  59. captain m. says:

    It’s a money scam nothing less, concealed under the cover of safety, we all know the city is broke, and the state is broke , so what do you expect? I haven’t had a ticket in years, and I am a safe driver, but today while trying to stop at a yellow light at the Pines/Flamingo intersection, I almost got rear ended by a car behind me, so I had to make a split second decision and accelerate through the yellow and to avoid an accident. I think the light turned red when I was halfway through the intersection! The driver behind me still kept going while in a fit of rage for the fact that I was going to stop on a yellow.
    If they are realy concerned about safety, how about an all red for to seconds before the crossing light turns green, or how about syncronized trafic lights like they do in civilized places? But I forgot those measures won’t generate any revenue .
    So here is my message to the officials at the city of Pembroke Pines, just on principal I will pay a traffic lawyer what ever it will cost to fight this ticket and to make sure that the city of Pembroke Pines dosen’t get a penny out of me. Mean while I propose that since we have those red light cameras shoved down our throats like or not by our elected city officials, let’s put them to good use, I think those cameras make nice targets for shooting practice. So grab your sling shot, shot gun, or whatever your weapon of choice may be, and let’s go hunting.

    Happy hunting.

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