Florida Bill to Ban Red Light Cameras Advances in the House
Red light cameras in Florida municipalities have been controversial from the beginning. Opponents say that these devices invade drivers’ privacy and are strictly for generating revenue, among other complaints. Proponents of red light cameras say that these devices makes Florida roadways safer by discouraging drivers from disobeying traffic signals and preventing deadly T-bone accidents. It appears that these devices have polarized Florida lawmakers as well, as a panel in the Florida House recently passed a bill that would ban red light cameras across the state.
On Feb. 14, the House Economic Affairs Committee voted 10-8 for HB 4011, which removes authorization for Florida towns and counties to collect the $158 fine from drivers caught on film running red lights. This vote comes just two years after legislators created guidelines for collecting these fines after Orlando and other cities installed them at intersections with high rates of red light runners and accidents. In 2012, 71 cities and counties across Florida installed red light cameras, which generated $51 million in revenue for general revenue accounts and trust funds that help pay for trauma and brain-and-spinal-cord injury centers.
Rep. Daphne Campbell, D-Miami, an outspoken critic of the cameras, was one of the sponsors of HB 4011. She told reporters that these devices are a revenue stream for Florida that unfairly discriminate against low-income minorities.
"I’ve worked several years in trauma units and critical care so I know what is safety. This law is strictly revenue-driven," she said.
However, red light cameras supporters such as Orlando city lobbyist Kathy Russell cite data that show how effective these devices are at deterring negligent drivers who run red lights. She recently told reporters that traffic citations from red light cameras had plummeted since 2010 at the city’s top five intersections. Orlando was the first major city in the state to install the cameras, which have issued $9.1 million in fines over the last two years, with $6.1 million going to the city and $3.1 million going to state coffers.
Russell said that she has been approached many times by Central Florida legislators, who have received citations in the mail. When they see the video that the camera recorded, they elect not to appeal the fine.
"I’ve had several legislators call me about it, and I’ve said, ‘You might want to look at your video first,’" she told the committee. "Very few people appeal after that."
Ask James O. Cunningham or any other Orlando auto accident lawyer, and they will tell you that red light cameras save lives and help prevent accidents that frequently cause catastrophic injuries. The only people who have anything to fear from these devices are reckless drivers who put their schedules above the safety of everyone around them. It’s quite simple, actually. Drivers who don’t run red lights don’t have to worry about receiving a $158 ticket in the mail. If you have been injured in an accident caused by a driver who ran a red light or was otherwise negligent and you want to speak with an experienced Orlando personal injury attorney, call Mr. Cunningham today at 877-FL-INJURY (877-354-6587).
James O. Cunningham
Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.