Red Light Cameras Under Assault Again





A bill to eviscerate red light cameras is again on the agenda in Tallahassee.

The measure from the House Transportation and Highway Safety Subcommittee would forbid any new red lights cameras after July 1, 2014.

It would also curb the revenue local governments get from the cameras, removing a major incentive for the installation.   The fine for running a red light would be reduced from $158 to $83 and the $45 that now goes to local government would be eliminated.

The subcommittee will hear the measure this week.  The red light provisions are part of a much larger transportation bill.

The only Broward member of the subcommittee is state Rep. Hazelle Rogers, D-Lauderdale Lakes.

Red light cameras were first approved by the Legislature in 2010. They have been under assault since then in Tallahassee and the courts.

The cameras’ chief supporters have been local governments, who receive millions of dollars from them.

In Broward, the major red light camera company American Traffic Solutions’ lobbyists include Ron Book and Mitch Ceasar, who is chair of the county Democratic Party.

One calculation says that the state, which gets a share of the red light revenue, received more than $51 million from the 71 governments using the cameras in the 2011-2012 fiscal year.

At least two other bills have been filed prior to the 2014 legislative session to eliminate the cameras.


The bill can be seen here. 

51 Responses to “Red Light Cameras Under Assault Again”

  1. Duke says:

    Ron Book and Mitch Ceasar are pitching red light cameras? Thanks for the info

  2. Tamarac Talk says:

    The Mayor and Commissioners in Tamarac were sold a bill of goods back in 2012 voted after hearing the pitch from American Traffic Solutions. I watched the presentation where ATS showed them cars being T-boned at intersections and how once they got these scam cams…that wouldn’t be a problem.

    They were sold.

    Cameras were going to physically stop cars from running red lights? How?

    No, there is no doubt that people that deliberately run red lights are a safety hazard, but the citizens of Tamarac have yet to receive what these so-called statistics are which led to this enormous financial and contractual undertaking with American Traffic Solutions to install 20 red light cameras in our city.

    Last February, the commissioners in Collier County on the West coast of Florida voted to remove all of its red light cameras and were met with applause from the audience according to Naples News.

    Although the conversation was heated at times, the most compelling speaker on the issue was Florida Highway Patrol Officer Paul Henry, who told commissioners there was no change in the number of crashes before the cameras were installed and after the cameras were installed within an 18-month period.

    Sadly, our city commissioners bought the sales pitch from the Arizona based American Traffic Solutions, that many other cities have: That by getting red light cameras, they are reducing the number of crashes.

    Florida Senate transportation chairman, Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, who was the one who filed filed SB 144 said “This program was originally sold as being about safety, I have come to believe that it’s now about revenue.”

    A libertarian Republican, Brandes is a frequent critic of red light cameras, calling them a “backdoor tax increase.”

    I published an article in last month were a writer analyzed the program in that city and between January 2013 and June 2013 3,386 tickets were issued, however, they had a reduction of only six accidents total for all of these people fined.

    I urge everyone in the 2014 municipal elections in Tamarac and Coral Springs to vote for any Commission or Mayor contender that wants to take these scam cams down.

  3. Tamarac Talk says:

    #1 Duke

    I agree. I was just as surprised as you were that both Book and Mitch Ceasar are being paid by the Fat Cats at ATS as lobbyist. Could be a another good reason why Tamarac along with many of our other cities are going for these as well. I’m wondering how many conversations any of our commissioners had with any of them before the vote.

  4. Broward Resident says:

    Contrary to what Sharon posted the Cameras have increased safety in Broward County and should be kept.
    Enforcement should be getting smarter and better with the help of technology. If you dont want enforcement of traffic laws move to France.

  5. Defense Lawyer says:

    #4 Broward Resident

    Setting aside the serious constitutional issues involved with red light cameras, let us see if the greedy cities like Sunrise, Fort Lauderdale and Pembroke Pines keep them if the Legislature takes away the money incentives. Then we will see if cities are really interested in safety or in money.

  6. Patti Lynn says:

    The State Legislature is really usurping the “Home Rule” provisions of most governments. They refuse to allow local governments to regulate guns; they refuse to allow local governments to regulate vacation rentals. What happened to the GOP platform of LESS Government??? Red light cameras provide a financial incentive for folks to NOT try and beat an amber light. Why take the financial incentive out of it for municipalities? They do have to run the magistrates’ courts; they do have to have municipal oversight. Just what is the problem with fining folks who endanger others? No, the cameras are NOT going to physically stop a vehicle from running a red light, but, they sure make people think about stopping. I’m not happy that the “Right on Red” drivers are exempted by most cities.
    I don’t appreciate that lobbyists make money supporting those cameras, however, there are just as many lobbyists making money fighting them. Mr. Book’s firm usually has folks on both sides of many issues. If red light cameras are deemed constitutional, I support them.

  7. Plain Language says:

    Wake me up when this is over. I’ve seen this movie before and the end is very predictable.

  8. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    I got one of those damn tickets last summer. 158.00 bucks down the drain. Sent My check via certified mail. Oh yes, “oh we never got it Robert” I would have heard from City Manager Lee Feldman. Return receipt to boot. Oakland and A1A left hand turn. You bet your ass I floor it now. I end up in your back seat, oh well. All kidding aside they work. People do slow down, and don’t go through red lights. Again they work. I was against them from the geco. Again since they installed them here in Ft.Lau I am sure accidents etc. are down.

  9. Ha Ha Ha says:

    For those opposed to the Red Light Camera scam, I suggest reading the 54 comments on Buddy’s previous article on this topic, which collectively contain lots of very valuable information!

  10. Duke says:

    These cameras are a scam. There’s a congressional report from way back in 2001 attesting to such. It’s simple. They reduce the time on the yellow light to make more people run red lights. They do not increase safety at all. They actually cause more rear-end collisions. The best way to curtail red light running is to increase the time on the yellow light, not decrease it. Another good idea is a countdown on the yellow light to reduce the guess work of how long the yellow light will last. It varies depending on what municipality one is driving in.

  11. Ghost of McLovin says:

    Unconstituional. F home rule when cities violate civil rights by imposing unconstitutional laws.

  12. Assturd says:

    Hey Walsh;

    If I found you in the back seat of my car, given your…past, I’d assumed you were breaking and entering.

  13. Red Lite Cameras = FAIL says:

    Florida extends yellow light times [by 0.4 second] at red-light camera intersections
    January 8, 2014

    A study released by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shows statewide last year, crashes at red-light camera intersections were up 21 percent.

  14. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:

    Dear Friends,

    #7 nailed it. I completely agree with that comment, those of us who watch Tallahassee closely agree that this just boils down to high drama. There will be some chatter about it but the end it will go nowhere. The case for the issue has already been made, the law is well settled, and the results are impossible to dispute.

    Drive safely!



  15. Duke says:

    Nice to know which politicians won’t let their constituents get scammed and which ones will. What side are you on commissioner? Never mind. We know which side you’re on.

  16. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:

    My friend Duke:

    I respect your point of view even when yours and mine are not aligned as so often turns out to be the case. In my city I can say with great certainty that red light cameras are appreciated and supported by a vast majority of our residents who came to city hall to ask for greater protections on our roads. All of this and the following commentary is a matter of public record.

    The program was the idea of residents in my city, not the city commission. They were sick and tired of drivers refusing to stop for red lights. Today my city is much safer as our numbers show — nearly 50% drops in both the numbers of red light violations and intersection accidents. That’s citywide by the way. Not just at the red light camera locations. There have also been no fatalities at red light camera intersections.

    So clearly the program has had a strong and positive impact on driver behavior. You can call all of that a coincidence but you can’t say the numbers are fudged or wrong. I encourage you — go ask for them and review the data yourself. Don’t take my word for it.

    We implemented the program fairly, giving warnings to drivers going through standing red lights for 6 months — no fines at all — when the program first started. To inform them, we put up signs telling drivers they were approaching an intersection with a camera. We wanted them to know, deterrence was the goal of the program from the very start. Never once did we agree — as other cities did — to use cameras as an enforcement tool for right turns on red. At the specific request of residents we did use one camera to enforce at one intersection that is “no turn” on red, a very different scenario but the right turn on red was always seen by my commission as a mistake and we were correct in that assessment.

    The program was never about gotcha. Our hope was never to issue a citation at all and nobody, not one of us on the Pines City Commission gave a rat’s ass care for whether we made money on it or not. Sure, we hoped it would pay for itself. Sure, we monitored the costs. But even if it cost us money, if the safety side showed progress, we would have continued to support it.

    So all this cynicism, childish as it is, transparent as it is, I don’t lie. Take it from me, however astonishing as you may believe, money was never the issue. The State of Florida is the one that wanted money. That’s why they raised the fines to $158 and they skim $70 of each citation for doing nothing. And then these idiot legislators blame cities for being money hungry. Duplicitous blowhards.

    At least our revenues all went to paying the cost of the program. What costs does the State have? Please.

    Now, you can believe what I’m saying or choose not to. My job isn’t to convince you but to truthfully disclose facts. Your job is to conclude.

    As for us in Pembroke Pines? Commission and residents together concluded years ago that this program was worth trying. And we agree that it is worth keeping.

    Proof? I was just re-elected, as was the Mayor two years ago, and another colleague of mine this year without opposition. It’s the second time that I ran unopposed in ten years. And nobody in Pembroke Pines is fearful of speaking up when they’re unhappy.

    In fact, knowing my support for the red light camera program, in my prior two elections, I won each with 87% both times. This is not to toot my horn but to illustrate.

    If folks in my city were pissed off with my policy stances, which truly come from them in the first place, re-election numbers like that would be impossible. Simply untenable.

    That said, I respect that you might disagree. My hope is you never personally experience what a red light runner can do to you or anyone close to you.

    I have and wouldn’t wish it on anyone.



  17. Duke says:

    Dear Commissioner:

    That is some of the most eloquently stated BS I have ever read.

    May I suggest that you read the 2001 congressional study on red light cameras that was commissioned by the republican house leader.

    It’s pretty simple. Folks figured out years ago that when you reduce the yellow time, it increases red light running. Just as the congressional report says, it’s nothing short of a “scam.”

    Here in Broward county alone, the length of a yellow light depends on which intersection and or municipality you’re in. Is the yellow light at the intersection of 441 and Hollywood Boulevard the same length as the yellow light at Rock Island Road and Kimberly Boulevard? Not even close.

    Nothing will ever eliminate red light running in it’s entirety. But if you really care about your constituents as much as you say you do, then maybe you should start petitioning county traffic engineers to increase the time on yellow lights and make every yellow light in the county at least 5 or 6 seconds long like they all were before these “Traffic solutions” scammers and their lobbyists started getting politicians and traffic engineers to reduce yellow light times to help perpetrate their scam. Another good idea is to put a countdown system on the yellow light like some municipalities do with cross walks. This will eliminate the guess work when driving through different municipalities.

    Ask yourself honestly how many other states have flat-out outlawed these cameras and what their rationale was for doing so.

    While you’re at it, call the folks who the city is in business with and say that you think the yellow time should be increased. See what kind of reaction you get. Hint.. they won’t think it’s a good idea.



  18. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:


    FDOT controls signal light duration standards statewide. Not cities, not counties. State FDOT does that and only FDOT does that in Florida.

    I’ve questioned Florida’s top state traffic engineers on the question of yellow light durations and have written about those discussions on these very pages at least 10 times. They told me, even when pressed, that their yellow standard is precisely correct.

    They told me that drivers who can’t stop for a yellow light in Florida on time are most likely speeding or driving to recklessly to notice the light changing. That they need to slow down and pay attention to what they’re doing. So sayeth the traffic engineers.

    Want to argue with them? Call them. Don’t take my word for it. Make the call to FDOT yourself. Like I did. Hear what they tell you first hand and if anything — the slightest bit of anything I just wrote above is incorrect — give me the name and number of who you spoke to. I will verify it and go to bat for longer yellows again.

    That’s a promise.

    Until then, Broward County must follow FDOT’s standard. There’s just no discretion they have over FDOT signal standards. For sure, cities have no legal authority to undo FDOT standards particularly not on state roads like Pines Boulevard.

    By the way, since you brought it up, it was this Republican Legislature in Florida that created the state statute authorizing red light cameras in Florida.

    The calculation for a yellow light, as the state FDOT engineers explained to me, is calculated principally on the basis of road capacity and speed limit among other factors. The engineers say they have a standard traffic equation for that calculation generally accepted nationwide in the traffic engineering field. Different roads may have different outcomes based on that calculation.

    Don’t believe me? Let FDOT explain this to you personally.

    On Pines Boulevard, the calculation yields a 4 second yellow light. As I have said many times before, if ANYBODY ever sees a yellow light on Pines Boulevard that isn’t 4 seconds contact me immediately.

    Tell me where and I will go there personally to film it. I look for it all the time, never once have I found one signal out of compliance.

    My message is simple. When you get into a car, you take your life and everyone else’s into your hands. Stay off the cell phone. Pay attention. Drive within the speed limit. Keep a safe distance from the car in front. Avoid cars around you that drive recklessly.

    Drive safely and you never have to worry about red light cameras.


  19. Duke says:

    Dear Commissioner:

    I’m familiar with the rhetoric offered by county traffic engineers and state officials with respect to the timing on yellow lights.

    May I once again respectfully suggest that you read the 2001 congressional report that was commissioned by the republican house leader at the time. The claims made by these so called traffic pattern experts who you reference are all well addressed. All the things like “road capacity” and “grading of highway” are all adequately explained.

    It is not at all uncommon for a state or county to build a road that is designed to be safely traveled on at 50 MPH,then purposely make the speed limit 35 MPH in order to generate revenue. Then along came red light cameras to take revenue generating to a whole new level.

    In order to maximize profit, they decrease the time on the yellow light. Do you honestly think that a 4 second yellow light is adequate? If you read the congressional report, it explains in intricate detail how 4 seconds is far from adequate and how people traveling at a lawful speed routinely get caught in “The Dilemma zone” due to shortened yellow times. I have spoken to several traffic magistrates who have read the report and all of them have given drivers a break.

    The problem is that when these traffic engineering folks make such outrageous claims, nobody ever calls them out on it. At least not in Florida. Yet. And when you have seasoned lobbyist like Ron Book and Mitch Ceasar pitching it, it’s hard for you elected folks to call them out. It’s unfortunate that when you discussed this issue with state and county traffic officials, Traffic Solutions and their lobbyist, you were not armed with the congressional report to help you refute their outrageous claims. As an elected official, isn’t it your job rather than mine to argue with DOT officials?

    I have never gotten a red light camera ticket. Don’t think I ever will. My kids complain that I drive too slow.

    Personally, I would have no problem whatsoever with red light cameras if they would just lengthen the yellow time to the way it was back in the day. But that would decrease profits.

    You have presented no evidence at all that red light cameras make us safer. I would seriously question your insinuation that it as the residents of your city that wanted the plan implemented. As a matter of fact, I would be inclined to say that if a public referendum were held on putting red light cameras in any or all of the 30 something Broward county municipalities, not one would pass. If a state wide public referendum were held, the measure would fail.

    If you support red light cameras so be it. Your position is well known. But please stop saying that the residents wanted it and that these cameras make us safer. And please do yourself a favor and read the congressional report. You just might find some very good information from some highly respected folks who are more well versed in traffic pattern engineering practices than the people who want to rob us.

    I have no doubt that you are concerned about safety. That does not mean you have to take someone’s word at DOT as gold.

    I will continue to drive safe and I know you will too.


  20. Ha Ha Ha says:

    Duke, consider the “careful and prudent” Florida rule for right turns at a red light. Do you really think a ROBOT is capable of correctly evaluating a traffic situation and making a value judgement as to whether or not a specific vehicle made a right turn in a “careful and prudent” way?!? It isn’t!!! Even the most advanced, most expensive artificial intelligence software cannot give robots anything remotely resembling the ability to correctly make that kind of judgement call. Cities are just arbitrarily picking specific numbers out of their rear ends and setting up the robot cameras to issue tickets to anyone making a right turn at a (very inaccurately) “measured” speed higher than that arbitrary number. Many cities don’t even bother to ticket people who just run straight through the red light, because ticketing right-on-red (and having the robot focus only on the right turn lane) maximizes revenue while minimizing equipment cost. Duke, how exactly is a longer yellow light going to correct the right-on-red robo-ticketing scam?

    Add to that the special kangaroo courts, the Big Brother Is Watching You factor, the high potential for future information abuse (remember LOVEINT in the NSA scandal?), the tie-in with lobbyists and with highly dysfunctional campaign financing, the perverse incentives to enact new laws that are specially designed to perform as robotic revenue cash cows, etc.!

    Sorry, Duke, I just can’t agree with your claim that red light cameras are acceptable under some conditions. Red light cameras cannot be fixed and must instead be eradicated.

    I do like your otherwise excellent posts though – thanks!

    Red Light Cameras Investigated: Florida’s right turn trap
    9:51 AM, Jul 26, 2013
    by 10 News Investigator Noah Pransky

  21. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:


    There are things local officials can can do and things State officials must do instead. If I took people’s word for gold I’d never have questioned FDOT personally as I did.

    Yellow light duration is very clearly a state FDOT matter. In cities and counties live with the traffic engineering decisions of FDOT. I drive Pines Boulevard every day and can tell you that four seconds is ample to stop. Dilemma only occurs if one is going to fast to respond in time to the changing light. In fact, I drive constantly all over Broward and don’t encounter these dilemmas you’re talking about.

    Further, no city in Broward that I know of has any control over signals as this is managed by Broward County. So this notion you have that some cities, certainly not mine, are shortening lights to get more money out of red light cameras is simply false. Wherever else that may happen, it does not happen in Broward and nobody has ever proven such a thing.

    Dilemma is also created in this instance. Some believe that yellow light means speed up. Instead it means slow down and prepare to stop. Drivers that go through standing red lights at higher speeds trying to beat a yellow light are reckless drivers. There’s really no other way to say this. Overwhelmingly people have no problem stopping. We must drive more responsibly to avoid these dilemmas.

    If you know of specific roads that you think have yellows lights that are too short, call FDOT. Have them review the calculation with you. Call Broward County Traffic Engineering and ask them to review it also.

    That’s my best advice to you if you truly want to take your concern to the next level.



  22. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:


    You know this is the perfect example of what goes on in this world today that increasingly we should all worry about.

    Duke is a great person, I’ve seen comments from that source many times. Thoughtful and honest and I respect that.

    But first the cities are making a shitload of money on red light cameras which we are not. Second we have hidden motives for doing the program which I can tell you in my case is bullshit. I’ve said why I support it. Then it’s that cities control yellow lights which is untrue.

    Then it’s that Mitch Ceasar and Ron Book did it — who have never once set foot in my city on this issue or, frankly, in my ten years on any issue that I can recall.

    Both fine guys by the way, they simply had nothing at all to do with red light cameras in my city.

    Then its that residents in my city didn’t support the measure when we have miles of video showing at city commission meetings where residents asked for, hell demanded that city hall protect them better from red light runners. I could go on but the point has been made.

    The tendency to assume facts as true when same are not true, or worse, those facts aren’t even remotely close to true is growing in our society. It’s knowledge by guess or invention. Lazy thinking by plugging a blank in our thinking calculus with an invented fact. That’s very disturbing and I’ve never seen more of it than I do today.

    Get the facts. Refuse to be misinformed. Judge on the facts so you don’t conclude in error. Why cheat yourself?

    Anyway, just a thought.


  23. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:


    Oh, one more point.

    So, today there’s an editorial in the Sun Sentinel supporting keeping red light cameras. A state representative is given the sweetheart treatment by the paper because of a bill he proposes to reduce fines. Which I’ve always supported. Keep local government from cashing in on the program, and so forth goes the editorial.

    The fine is too much and I’ve said that from day one. To resolve it, this guy wants wants to cut out all local revenues.

    Sounds great right? Well, here’s what they don’t tell you.

    In round numbers, of the $158 fine now (way too high) for red light camera violations SEVENTY DOLLARS goes to the State of Florida. In return for them doing absolutely nothing while incurring not one nickel of cost. Nearly half the fine goes to the state for no frigging reason other than they said so. This guy’s bill doesn’t seem to change that, unless I’m mistaken.

    At the local level, another $25 goes to the court system. There’s another contribution to a fund for victims, educational classes, etc., and what’s left goes to the cities. If I recall it correctly that’s somewhere inside of $46 per citation.

    From that cities pay their vendor camera bills. There is no money being made on this deal in my city, that’s for sure. In fact we lose money but that’s OK. We have a safer city so we’re not complaining.

    The irony is only rich the State of Florida is getting rich on this deal. How’s that for a kick in the pants? And that’s why this thing will never be revoked. There’s too much money in it for the state. Yet they have the balls to suggest this is a local government money grab?

    How do you like them apples? And the brilliant journalists at the Sun Sentinel assist them in perpetrating this thinly disguised act of good government. Amazing.

    At least, the Sun Sentinel did get the conclusion right on this editorial. All considered, the opinion is a distinct improvement over their more recent misguided grunts. They’re simply lazy on the facts again. So close and yet so far from the real story.


  24. Duke says:

    Dear Ha Ha Ha:

    I know exactly what you’re saying when you talk about the yellow light when turning. One of the things that I’ve noticed is that when you are making a left hand turn against traffic while you have the green arrow, the yellow is even shorter than if you are just proceeding straight ahead. I agree with your assessment completely. They probably should be eliminated in their entirety. I was simply trying to compromise, knowing full well that longer yellow times = less red light running. Congress knew back in 2001 that red light cameras are a scam. How these people have been allowed to perpetrate this scam is beyond me. But many states are finally waking up. 19 of them have outlawed these cameras. More will follow.

  25. Duke says:

    Dear Commissioner:

    It is entirely possible for people who are driving at the lawful speed to get caught in the “dilemma zone.” It happens thousands of times a day in south Florida.

    Something tells me that you either have no interest in reading that congressional report, or you have and choose to disregard it.

    Pembroke Pines is losing money on red light cameras? Somebody needs to investigate.


  26. Ha Ha Ha says:

    Duke, I wasn’t talking about a yellow light when turning. I was talking about making a right turn on a RED light, which is legal under Florida law if it is done in a “careful and prudent” manner.

    Also, it isn’t just states that are banning red light cameras…
    Iowa City to ban red-light cameras, drones, and license plate readers too
    June 4 2013, 7:45pm

  27. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:


    I’ve read many reports on this subject over the years. If you have a specific link for a report you’d like me to read, please provide. I looked for it and found some hearing records from Congress, but it didn’t appear to include a report. I’ll read the report you link to me and get back to you.

    Have you called FDOT yet? What did they tell you about the timing of yellow lights on the roads you’re most concerned about? We have seen the predicted increase in rear end collisions caused by drivers driving too close to the car ahead of them.

    Every red light camera report says that this should be expected but that it eases down with time and, while any accident is regrettable, the trade-off in terms of life/safety by reducing the t-bone collisions, which by far cause injury and damage well beyond rear end accidents, is preferable. We have also seen rear end collisions go down over the time the program was in place.

    As to dilemma zone issue you raise, I will try harder to understand your view on it but frankly I haven’t yet gotten there yet. Based on my driving experience in Broward and specifically in my city this is not an issue that I’ve encountered. I just don’t find it difficult at all to stop for red lights.


  28. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:


    Also, I am not so naive to think that scams don’t exist. While I do not know of specific instances, I’m fully prepared to say that the opportunity is there for some jurisdictions to rig the situation to create a cash flow situation.

    It does not and cannot happen in Pembroke Pines. Of that I am sure. Why? My city does not time the lights, in fact I know of no city in Broward that does that. Broward County Traffic Engineering, to the best of my knowledge, exclusively does that countywide. What else? Broward County receives none of the proceeds from red light camera revenues. So they certainly have no monetary incentive would they have? Why else? Because I watch my lights like a hawk timing them constantly as I ride those roads to make sure.

    Anybody at all that sees a yellow light on Pines Boulevard less than 4 seconds is to contact me personally to get my total and immediate attention to that issue. I will not tolerate scams. And I don’t care about revenue in this matter. My interest is only in making our streets safer for residents and visitors.

    So far, we’ve done that and the numbers speak for themselves. It really doesn’t require much convincing on that score.


  29. Ha Ha Ha says:

    The report Duke refers to is right here:

    The report’s reference links are here:

  30. Duke says:

    Dear Ha Ha Ha:

    Thank you for posting the links. As far as getting a red light ticket for making a right after stopping at the red, I got an email yesterday from a friend in Sunrise who that recently happened to and she wanted to know what I thought she should do. I think this is one of the reasons why a lot of municipalities are having someone review the footage.

    There’s a red light camera at the intersection of Oakland Park Boulevard and University Drive. Not long ago I found myself in a nearby parking lot waiting to meet a friend. Then I started noticing “flashes” coming from something on a pole. I could not help but notice that every time someone heading west on Oakland Park Boulevard made a right onto University after making a stop, they triggered the camera.

    So I have personally witnessed red light cameras snapping shots of drivers under the guise of that driver running a red light when in fact they never did.

    Stay well,


  31. Duke says:

    Dear Commissioner:

    Yes, I have raised my concerns with both DOT as well as traffic engineers in both Broward and Palm Beach County, since I tend to frequent both counties. My talks and correspondence with them began years ago. It went nowhere. Everybody seems to be of the opinion that 4 seconds is long enough. Except the traffic magistrates I speak with. Most of them seem to get it.

    I must admit that I was somewhat humored when former West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel initiated red light cameras in her city.. and was one of the first ones to get nailed.

    Perhaps it will take some real leadership from a seasoned political veteran to finally put an end to reduced yellow times in order to generate revenue. It may even need to be at the national level. I know of a few state legislators willing to address the issue and I think opposition is gaining momentum. Maybe Charlie will do like a few other Governors and flat-out veto them. Wouldn’t that be a great issue to raise during the next gubernatorial campaign?

    A lot of opponents are using the big brother argument. Not me. I see cameras everywhere in our society. They help reconstruct accidents, find missing children, and give valuable clues when solving crimes. The problem I have with red light cameras is the fact that 4 seconds is a joke, the system is rigged, and not enough leaders call these people out.



  32. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:


    At lunch today I read the report you referred to, and I have thank Ha, Ha for providing me the link to that report and to the Traffic Eningeers Manual which I’ve seen a number of times before.

    To be honest I was looking forward to reading it until I saw right there on the cover that it was not technically a “Congressional Report” but rather a white paper issued by the then Majority Leader, who I believe was Dick Armey at the time. Honestly, I have stayed far away from political influence in my review of this matter. Frankly, partisan views rarely phase me when I’m studying safety issues. I look for more scientific studies to review.

    Candidly, perhaps that’s why I found the white paper big on opinion and not so much on facts.

    The reports I’d recommend you examine include those issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

    I find that the government agency reports are more objective and more factually oriented. In that sense, I find them more reliable. You might ask, well if you feel that way, why consider anything written by the Insurance Institute? Don’t they have a business stake in this? They sure do, insurance companies pay claims. So it’s absolutely in their interest to have fewer crashes.

    Yet every Insurance Institute report you will find supports red light cameras and offers at least a few tips on how to make the program better.

    I go beyond that. Who knows traffic enforcement better than cops? Ask ten cops, any ten at random if they believe red light cameras make drivers pay more attention to driving safely. Few if any will tell you no.

    Ha, Ha also provided a link to the Traffic Engineers Manual. There’s a quote in there from an old edition of that manual. If you look at the current, 6th edition of that manual (a 7th edition is currently in print but I’ve not seen that one yet) it clearly says that yellow lights duration under any circumstance or speed in excess of 5 seconds has to be looked at with scrutiny because it encourages drivers using it as an extension of a green light. That it encourages speeding and not stopping in time.

    To be clear — personally — if FDOT recommended a 7 second yellow, that’s their business and I’d go along with it. I’d have to. We must live by their call on this issue.

    There’s some indication that yellow lights may be increased by .04 seconds. If true, I have to trust that the engineers find this safe.

    Look at it this way, when I have a heart condition my cardiologist (thankfully my heart is healthy) is who I listen to.

    If I have a complex tax question, I call a CPA. When I need a legal opinion I call a lawyer. On yellow lights, I call the top traffic engineer in the state. Candidly, I’d be foolish not to do that.

    So while I respect that you might disagree with 4 seconds, if the engineers say that 5 seconds must be looked at with scrutiny, then with respect 4 seconds can’t be a joke.

    Perhaps 4.4 seconds is the answer. Fine, I need the engineers to say that. Next week I will ask my city engineer where the .04 seconds issue is and I’ll let you know.

    Have a safe holiday weekend all.


  33. Ha Ha Ha says:

    @30 Duke – you should tell your friend that every single Sunrise City Commissioner incumbent is on the record as supporting highway robbery red light cameras, and ask her whether she is registered to vote. Help her to become politically active!

  34. Ha Ha Ha says:

    @32 – The report argues Armey’s viewpoint with valid points and sound evidence. From the Executive Summary:

    The Red Light Running Crisis: Is it Intentional?

    1. Something Funny
    2. Camera Revenue
    3. The Theory
    4. The Fact
    5. Code Changes
    6. Cameras Ineffective
    7. Conclusion
    8. References

    There’s a hidden tax being levied on motorists today. In theory, this tax is only levied on those who violate the law and put others in danger. But the reality is that the game has been rigged. And we’re all at risk.

    We are told to accept the idea that our laws should be administered by machines-not human beings-because it is a matter of safety. We must accept this expansion of government and this Orwellian threat to our privacy because cameras are the solution to the so-called red light running crisis. […]

    But why have so many people become wanton red light runners all of a sudden? The answer seems to be that changes made to accommodate camera enforcement have produced yellow light times that, in many cases, are shortened to the point that they are inadequate. And when people come upon an intersection with inadequate yellow time, they are faced with the choice either of stopping abruptly on yellow (risking a rear end accident) or accelerating. The options for those confronting such circumstances are limited and unsafe. But each time a driver faces this dilemma, government increases its odds for hitting the jackpot.

    This report suggests there is something that can be done to address this hazard. It cites examples of problem intersections where yellow times have been raised by about 30 percent and the number of people entering on red fell dramatically. It cites, in addition, controlled scientific studies that confirm the hypothesis that longer yellows are better. The following reductions in red light entries are documented:

    Mesa, Arizona 73%
    Georgia 75%
    Virginia site 1 79%
    Virginia site 2 77%
    Virginia site 3 Problem “virtually eliminated”
    Maryland Problem “virtually eliminated”

    It is no coincidence that each of the “problem” intersections mentioned above happened to have yellow times that fell short by about 30 percent. Today’s formula for calculating yellow times yields yellow times that can in some cases be about 30 percent shorter than the older formula.

    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. […]

    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.

    We traded away our privacy for this. We gave up our constitutional protections for this. In return, we are less safe. That is the red light camera scam, and it has gone on for far too long.

  35. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:

    Good idea, while you’re at it, explain to her how important it is for her to stop for red lights.


  36. Ha Ha Ha says:

    @35 – Typical kangaroo court response from red light camera groupie Angelo Castillo, who is totally clueless.

    The friend turned right on a red light, which is legal in Florida. Florida law does NOT require a stop when turning right on red. It only requires that the right turn be done in a “careful and prudent” manner.

    But you’d just fine her $158 anyway, Angelo “Kangaroo” Castillo. So thanks, Angelo, for illustrating to everyone – straight from your own mouth – the hideously demented mentality of the red-light-camera-loving City Commissioner.

  37. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:


    No points are assessed to red light camera programs in Florida and I don’t recall that being the case in New York where I first saw these cameras in action. Have also seen them in other US cities, and they are in virtually every major city in Europe. Have been for decades.

    In Florida, cameras have been used for nearly 25 years to enforce non-payment of tolls on State roads (Turnpike, etc.). Nobody complains. But when the same technology is used to save lives in cities, suddenly there’s a problem. Please.

    Red light runners didn’t become that way “all of a sudden.” They were raised over a period of time to drive poorly for lack of enforcement.

    Every single rear end collision that occurs is 100% the fault of the driver striking the car in front of him. That’s just a legal and logistical fact. We drive way too close to one another and if we didn’t it would be a safer world.

    This behavior must be undone to keep us safer, reduce accidents and also reduce our outrageously high auto insurance rates — the highest reported in the nation is in South Florida. We are the Mecca for bad driving habits.

    With respect, this is not a Congressional Report. It is a white paper, that reads like it was written by Maury Povich, more editorial than fact, over 15 years old at any rate, and inherently partisan. I can’t make public policy based on material like that but, as an opponent of red light cameras, seeking support for that view, I perfectly understand why you would want to find refuge there.

    Trying to be as respectful as I can in responding but it’s not easy if this is the best source material you can find.



  38. Ha Ha Ha says:

    10 states (including New York and Georgia), and the District of Columbia, assess points against the driver’s license for red light camera generated tickets. Full list here:

    Rear end collisions have repeatedy been scientifically shown to significantly increase at intersections when red light cameras are installed. The responsibility for all those increased rear-end collisions lies with the demented politicians who decided to install and maintain red light cameras, thus generating numerous collisions that would not otherwise have occurred.

  39. Broward Voter says:

    There are no points involved in Florida. I have looked this up and Castillo is correct. A driver striking someone in the rear is at fault. If you drive a proper distance from the car in front a rear end is not possible. I keep hearing a lot of excuses here for reckless driving. I too have no trouble stopping for lights. Stop your bellyaching and drive correctly. If you do these cameras present you with no difficulty and instead protect you from so many idiots on the road today.

  40. Duke says:

    When I was a kid, my dad trained thoroughbreds. I’m pretty good with a stop watch. I used the one on my cell phone this weekend. I saw numerous intersections in Broward and palm Beach county where the yellow is less than 4 seconds.

    There are several reasons why people run red lights.

    The guy who runs the red light and tee-bones someone never saw the light. Either he was drunk or stoned, or on the cell phone, or putting in a cd, or fiddling with the radio, or yelling at his kids in the back seat, etc. He ran the light so bad that traffic in the lane of the car he hit was already moving and he flat out tee boned someone. No red light camera will ever fix that.

    Now, the guy who is “squeezing the lemon”.. He’s actually paying attention. He has his eye on the yellow light and the car in front of him, as well as the car in back of him. He’s trying to figure out how long the yellow light is and whether the guy in front of him is going to stop and whether the guy in back of him will stop, or will he get plowed. There’s a whole lot of guess work involved. A simple numeric countdown system on the yellow would alleviate that problem.

    Over the past several years, traffic engineers have given us less lemon to squeeze in the name of profitability. It was initiated to allow police to ticket us, but now red light cameras have taken that gig.

    The scam has been well documented. Politicians either allow their constituents to be a victim to it, or they don’t.

    So far, political leaders in 19 states have said “no more.”

    Hopefully, somebody in Florida with some political nads will get it done.

  41. Duke says:

    Dear Commissioner:

    You humored me with your comment concerning “government reports” being more reliable than others.

    But if you insist, the congressional report specifically references two (2) separate government reports. One from Mesa, Arizona, and one from Fairfax County, Virginia. Both municipalities reported that making yellow lights longer decreases red light running.

    Additionally, Virginia Tech also has some very interesting findings concerning the lengthening of yellow lights and numeric countdown systems. A quick Google search will lead you to those findings. But even before Virginia Tech started researching, the report commissioned by the house leader nailed it. Right down to identifying “The father of red light cameras”.. the guy who started all of this business of reducing yellow light times and ticketing people for running the red via a snap shot.

    County and city commissioners who claim to care about safety need to start inquiring of DOT as to why the shortened yellow times, and demand they do something about it. They need to take whatever steps necessary to make yellow lights longer. Then ATS would just pack up their tent and move on. Either that or a class action lawsuit or some governor exercising their veto power. Sooner or later, this fleecing of the public under the guise of safety has got to stop.



  42. Ha Ha Ha says:

    The bill (HB 7005) was approved by the House Transportation & Highway Safety Committee by a vote of 10 to 3. Rep. Hazelle Rogers voted to approve the bill.

  43. Ha Ha Ha says:

    Hallandale to dump red-light cameras
    By Susannah Bryan, Sun Sentinel
    8:20 pm, January 22, 2014

    Red-light cameras are getting the heave-ho in this seaside city. […] The motion passed 4-1. […]

  44. Duke says:

    In addition to the Sun -Sentinel story about Hallandale Beach dumping red light cameras, there’s also a story about how the bribery scandal concerning one of these red light camera companies has Florida ties.

  45. Ha Ha Ha says:

    USF study makes it harder to claim red light cameras are safety measure
    John Romano, Tampa Bay Times Columnist
    Wednesday, January 22, 2014 6:46pm

    […] The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety did a before/after analysis in 2011 of communities with and without cameras and declared that more than 200 lives would be spared annually if every major city had red light cameras.

    USF’s researchers called that conclusion, more or less, a joke.

    They say the IIHS study was skewed by the results from a single city (Phoenix) that had an abnormally high rate of fatalities in the years preceding the installation of cameras. The IIHS attributed the subsequent decrease in fatalities to the cameras, but the USF report argued it was just a natural progression back to a normal level.

    USF professor Etienne Pracht compared it to measuring the heights of an adult and a child, and then giving the child a cup of sugar daily. When the child grows and the adult does not, does it mean the sugar was responsible for the growth?

    “It’s a classic apples and oranges comparison,” he said. […]

  46. Ha Ha Ha says:

    Secret Audit Of Baltimore’s Speed Cams Says Up To 70,000 Tickets Were Issued In Error In 2012 Alone
    Mon, Jan 27th 2014

    […] We’ve already covered one major traffic camera firm (ATS – American Traffic Solutions) in the Maryland-DC area whose response to questionable photos captured by its cameras was to crop out anything that might make the ticket challengeable, like calibration lines or other vehicles.

    Now, it appears another major contractor, Xerox State and Local Solutions, has been caught operating faulty cameras — and issuing tens of thousands of questionable citations. […]

  47. Ha Ha Ha says:

    @40 Duke – today’s collision in Pembroke Pines vividly illustrates your point. A driver eastbound on Johnson Street went through an eastbound red light camera intersection at Johnson & Colony Point, then proceeded to run the red light at the very next intersection (Johnson & Hiatus, only 0.3 miles away). One person was killed (the red light runner’s passenger) and five vehicles were damaged. The red light camera system had no effect whatsoever.

  48. Ha Ha Ha says:

    Legislature 2014
    Saturday, March 1, 2014


    With data that shows fatalities are down but crashes are up, bills have been filed to repeal red light camera programs. Cities are pu$hing back and more regulations of the camera programs could be the compromise.

  49. Plain Language says:

    Wake me up when it’s over. All this amounts to is campaign contributions to state political hacks who will never vote to stop red light cameras. Same goes for gambling. That’s another whore monger show.

  50. Ha Ha Ha says:,0,3243549.story

    Margate plans to remove its red-light cameras
    5:16 p.m. EDT, March 11, 2014

    The city of Margate plans to remove its four red-light cameras in December saying the cost to maintain them isn’t worth the trouble. […] crashes actually increased at one of the intersections between 2012 and 2013, according to a city memo. […]

  51. Ha Ha Ha says:

    Florida Supreme Court: Early red-light cameras were illegal
    Chris Tisch, Times Staff Writer
    Thursday, June 12, 2014

    The Florida Supreme Court ruled Thursday that more than a dozen local governments […] illegally established red-light camera programs by installing the devices prior to the Legislature approving them in 2010.

    Though some lawyers involved in red-light camera litigation believe the ruling should result in millions of dollars in refund checks, they cautioned that motorists shouldn’t expect that to happen without a fight.

    “There will absolutely have to be litigation filed,” said Luke Lirot, a Clearwater lawyer whose firm represents ticketed drivers. “It wouldn’t be a difficult court order to get based on this Supreme Court precedent, but absent a court order, I don’t see any municipality voluntarily giving back a dime of that money.” […]

    The court ruled 5-2 Thursday that local governments were not allowed to enact their own traffic enforcement ordinances at the time because it conflicted with the state’s uniform traffic code. […]