No More Red Light Cameras? Here's What New Port Richey is Saying

As the Florida House of Representatives considers outlawing red light cameras around the state, here's what some Patch readers had to say on the subject.

Since we told you last week about a bill under consideration by the Florida House of Representatives that would strike down the use of red light cameras, Patch readers have had plenty to say on the topic.

Our story, Red Light Cameras: Should They Stay or Go?, received more than 120 comments as of Tuesday night. Here's what some New Port Richey Patch readers had to say:

Jimmy James

I think those cameras are put up at high accident locations....

When I see one in the distance I check my speed and stop on yellow rather than chance an infraction, same as seeing a cop car close-by,
Michael Malterer:

Before you answer the question of wether or not they should go you have to ask "What is the purpose of these cameras?" If the purpose is to make money then of course you should have them. They don't bring in as much money as municipalities would like but nonetheless its some.

If the purpose is to make us safer then no, you shouldn't have them. They do nothing to make us safe. In fact, according to the USF study they cause more accidents.

If the entire car is past the white line when the light is red, you get a ticket. If it is yellow when the front of the car is past the white line, and then it turns red, you don't. In other words, you don't have to slam on the brakes if the light turns yellow when you are close to the intersection. Learn the law, and never get a ticket.

Rob Marlowe:

"I had a lot more sympathy for the folks getting camera tickets before I was hit by a red light runner last September. It is a shame there wasn't a camera to catch the lady who clipped the back of my car and then kept going like a bat out of hell down the street. The light had changed easily three seconds before she blew into the intersection, horn blowing, and hit me. Some folks drive like they own the roads and I believe they deserve every ticket they get.

If you don't want to get a ticket, the solution is simple. Hang up and pay attention to your driving."

Jim Slaughter:

"If the true purpose is to cut down on red light running, then the cameras are NOT the answer as statistics show MORE accidents WITH them! 

The answer is to stage all traffic signals. The green light starts blinking about 4 seconds before it turns yellow and then the yellow starts blinking about 5-6 seconds before turning red. The combination of blinks lets the driver know that the red light is imminent! I've seen this is Europe and it works great and is CHEAP to do...only a matter of programming the signals. 
Unfortunately, it doesn't make money which I am convinced is the REAL reason for the red light cameras."

Paul Zalon:

"Red light tickets should only be allowed if the driver of the vehicle is definitly identified. It is the drivfer who should get the ticket not the owner of the vehicle. The owner of a car, if not driving, is no more guilty than if he or she owns a hammer and if someone else uses it to hit someone."


"The studies speak for themselves that the cameras are dangerous. I've always wondered why the green or yellow light couldn't flash to make you aware the light is getting ready to change colors. When you have multiple vehicles and multiple drivers under one roof, knowing who was driving the vehicle weeks after a violation would be difficult to determine. This brings up a very distasteful constitutional issue of guilt - who was really behind the wheel. We have noticed them going off when no one was even present to go through the light. The system is not aimed at correcting anything in my opinion."

Do you agree? Should red light cameras be banned in Florida? Why or why not? Share your thoughts in the comments section below to continue the conversation.

Jim February 21, 2013 at 03:29 PM
We have Melissa Wandall of Bradenton to thank for the plague of red light cameras. If you only have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. That saying applies to Ms. Wandall and her idea that red light cameras are THE solution. Personally, I think it would be appropriate for Ms. Wandall to shift her focus to a campaign against buzzed driving and teaching defensive driving. Why? The driver of the car in which Wandall's husband Mark was riding had been drinking. Not legally drunk, but buzzed. He hit the gas when his green arrow came on, evidently without confirming that opposing traffic had stopped. If he had not been buzzed he might have noticed, directly in front of him and coming straight at him, the headlights of the red light runner. The driver was Ms. Wandall's brother. You can imagine that if it had been anyone else driving, Ms. Wandall would have sued the driver for his last dime. But she couldn't do that, couldn't punish her brother, so she punishes US with her hammer, red light cameras. Mark Wandall's death is a lesson for us to teach our children of driving age: Don't drive buzzed, and drive defensively. (They're connected, because if you are buzzed, you drop your defenses.) In particular, don't swing a left turn - even with a green arrow - until you've looked around. I would welcome a campaign by Ms. Wandall that focused on that particular lesson. She's a good speaker and could save a lot of lives, nationwide. And no one would have to install cameras.
Sally February 21, 2013 at 05:54 PM
When those who are nailed by a red light camera complain think of those drivers who were t-boned and perhaps lost their lives. In other words don't run the light and you won't have to worry about a ticket !!!!!!!!! Sal
Sean Fleeman February 21, 2013 at 08:02 PM
I think they are there for revenue and saying it is for safety is a convenient way to sell them to the sheeple at large. Do they reduce the instances of violators, yes I think they do. They also increase the number of rear-end collisions but they don't like to talk about that little bit of information - got to protect the revenue stream.
Nancy MacDonald February 21, 2013 at 08:07 PM
I think the red light cameras should be allowed. From personal experience I can say I was caught by a camera on US 19 going south and somewhere near the turn off to Grand Blvd? I was going too fast and when I got to the light I went for it and sped on through and I did see the camera flash overhead and knew I had been caught in the photo. I paid the fine and saw where my car was and it was fairly shown that I was beyond the stop line so I paid. But, I can tell you it changed my behavior in that I approach a light and if it is orange, I stop. Only a couple of times have I gone through orange. I start pumping my brakes to let the advancing car notice me and I am looking through my mirror to see if traffic is noticing my stop. Talking while driving or texting etc. are distractions that I have decided have no place in my car; just too risky.
Raymond Rossi February 21, 2013 at 09:00 PM
Come on Folks, We all know that the City was in financial crisis and saw this as a money maker. In the end the expected revenue was way short of the projections. So whats the citys solution? Put up more cameras ! Safety was just a cover excuse for wasteful spending.
Paul Henry February 22, 2013 at 07:00 AM
This comment shows the lack of understanding for the pro-device position. "Rob Marlowe: I had a lot more sympathy for the folks getting camera tickets before I was hit by a red light runner last September. It is a shame there wasn't a camera to catch the lady who clipped the back of my car and then kept going like a bat out of hell down the street. The light had changed easily three seconds before she blew into the intersection, horn blowing, and hit me. Some folks drive like they own the roads and I believe they deserve every ticket they get. If you don't want to get a ticket, the solution is simple. Hang up and pay attention to your driving." Logical failures: 1. If there had been an automated for-profit device there, it would not have deterred a driver willing to risk their life by driving into an intersection 3 SECONDS into the red. Had there been a device there, the driver would not have been cited, the vehicle owner would have. Had a device been there that recorded tag information, unless you could ID the driver, they could not be convicted in court. Unlike automated for-profit enforcement, our criminal and other moving violation courts do not make the vehicle owner guilty until proven innocent. An automated for-profit device would have been of little assistance in your circumstances as far as charging the person that committed the crime- failure to stop after a crash. 2. "Just don't run the light". See my next comment for this one.
Paul Henry February 22, 2013 at 07:09 AM
"In other words don't run the light and you won't have to worry about a ticket !!!!!!!!!" This argument arises in every automated for-profit device story. It is an incorrect assumption. The response remains the same: Many people that did not run a light have been ticketed. They include Steve Hunt in Jacksonville, whose license was suspended after the device company transposed one character on the tag of the Mercedes (300+ miles away in Miami) that ran the light and sent Mr. Hunt the ticket for his GMC pickup. The city told him tough, either make a 600+ mile round trip or hire a lawyer. Then there is Donald Abbott, age 79, from Volusia County. Mr. Abbott has a scooter he only rides in his community. His tag was copied and put on another vehicle. That vehicle ran a light and Mr. Abbott was cited. Easy to fix, right? He did eventually go to court, where despite evidence exonerating him, he was convicted and ordered to pay $264. Both of these people did not run a light. Both were ticketed. One was wrongly convicted. This situation is due solely to the guilty until proven innocent aspect of the device law. There are two solutions that will address most of the problems- 1. Proper yellow light timing, and 2. The Florida Motorist Rights Restoration Act, which does not ban the devices, but places their tickets on a level playing field with other moving violations.
Paul Henry February 22, 2013 at 07:13 AM
based upon your comment, you should support the 2013 Florida Motorist Rights Bill. It does not ban the devices, but instead makes the court proceedings the same as every other moving violation in Florida. If you get an automated for-profit ticket, pay it if you'd like to. Otherwise, you have the right to a hearing from the mailed ticket, you have the right to have the government, not you, prove who broke the law, and you have the right to have people in court to certify their evidence is correct.
Stephen February 22, 2013 at 12:43 PM
Besides the fact that most of the RLC "tickets" tend to be techincal fouls like right turns on red, stopping on the stop line, and split second mistakes. RLC will NOT stop the dangerous RLR regardless. Heck these videos PROVE that fact. Notice how the RLC FAILED TO STOP THE RUN OR CRASH! http://www.banthecams.org/Red-Light-Camera-News/videos-that-show-rlc-will-not-work-they-didnt-stop-these-crashes-where-they-were-installed.html ON a side note. Notice how the vast majority of reps who voted to keep the RLC are TAKING MONEY FROM ATS! http://retiredpublicsafety.com/wp/america-fundamentally/ Quote: This means 2 of 3 Republicans and all of the Democrats that took ATS money from 2011-2012 voted against the ban bill. Heck the next committee has 14 members on the Donation TAKE! http://libertytampabay.com/action-alert-florida-red-light-camera-ban-bill-moves-to-appropriations-committee/ Quote: In total, 14 of the 26 members of the Appropriations Committee have received contributions from American Traffic Solutions (ATS), the primary red light camera contractor in Florida. Ain't that interesting??? www.motorists.org www.banthecams.org camerafraud on Facebook
James C. Walker February 22, 2013 at 02:09 PM
Several points: 1) The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) changed the rules in July 2011 to allow cities to deliberately set the yellow intervals too short for the actual approach speeds of 85% of the vehicles - typically about one second too short. This malicious mis-engineering causes inadvertent split second violations by thousands of drivers who trip the red by (for example) .03 or .08 seconds. 2) Then cities sign a for-profit three-way business partnership contract with the state and a camera vendor to install red light cameras to collect $158 a pop for this inadvertent violations and in flows the MONEY. 3) The state takes the first $83 or 52.5% of the total take, which explains WHY FDOT changed the rules to allow cities to deliberately mis-engineer their lights with yellow intervals that are too short. The state took in $51 million last year this way. 4) There are many studies showing the cameras often leave the accident rates the same, or even increase the accident rates in some cases, but camera cities don't care about this as long as the MONEY keeps flowing freely. 5) Governments with integrity, like Collier County, see how the scam works after awhile and get rid of the cameras. They cancel their for-profit business partnership contract and reset the yellow intervals longer for maximum safety. 6) Call your state Representative and Senator to insist they support bill #4011 to ban the cameras statewide. James C. Walker, National Motorists Association
Werner Rist February 24, 2013 at 04:48 PM
Strictly from a personal perspective I love the fact that Red Light runners now get ticketed and fined. I have never seen as many red light scofflaws as are in this area. If in fact there are some studies outlining more accidents with cameras in use I'd really like to see them. If the counties and municipalities are changing the timing of yellow light to garner more income, they should be brought to task. In the same vain, when are we finally going to make texting and driving illegal? How many people have to be maimed or die on or highways before our Politicians tell the special interests that enough is enough?
Paul Henry February 24, 2013 at 05:55 PM
Werner- Please read the analysis reports on this page: http://bit.ly/MyNiVt I am a retired Florida Highway Patrol Lieutenant, and have spent many hours collecting DOT data, and then analyzing it. Unlike local cities, I publish this data for all to see. I did this not because I got an automated for-profit ticket (I have not gotten one), but because in every media report I read local officials were claiming safety as the sole reason for device use. In nearly every story, the only numbers cited were how much money was being made. I asked several reporters to look into the number of red light violation (RLV) crashes before and after automated for-profit enforcement, but none did. One thing you must recognize is that these crashes, like all others, fluctuate year to year. In my Collier County analysis, one intersection (Shadowlawn and SR 84) had six RLV crashes in one year- to include a fatality, and only a couple in the years since. For all of the automated for-profit device intersections there, I found 17 RLV crashes prior to the use of devices, and 17 after. I used identical periods of time. (will continue next comment)
Paul Henry February 24, 2013 at 05:55 PM
(continued) Some cities have seen a reduction, but none have seen a consistent significant reduction- keep in mind these crashes like all other crashes caused by inattention and/or impairment are impossible to predict. When actual numbers are not used, it becomes easy to convey with percentages (such as the annual DHSMV survey did) that there is a huge reduction. As an example, let's say one year there were 4 crashes in a city, then the next only 3. This is an actual reduction of 1, but a percentage reduction of 25%. There is a reason why the state did not publish actual numbers, did not collect RLV crash data, and 20 to 30% of agencies required by law failed to report crash data. That reason is the devices are ineffective at preventing this type of crash, the very reason (if you believe it is safety) they were installed. If you want to observe special interests at work, I'll be glad to list the numerous automated for-profit lobbyists registered in Florida. These people along with tax-funded lobbyists (our local officials and police administrators who use our tax money to lobby against our liberty) are the ones that got the automated for-profit device law passed in 2010.
Werner Rist February 26, 2013 at 03:04 PM
Paul-- Thank you for your reply. I've now read most of the material you presented and linked and have a few comments. From my lay standpoint I still believe that red light cameras have a positive influence on drivers especially the inattentive ones. It seems to me that most of these reports address problems inherent in new technologies and declare our patronage system of government an ongoing dysfunction in the election and job descriptions of our ruling elite. It's also clear that you have a dog in this hunt. I agree that profit motives, carpet bagging and gerrymandering should never be part of this or any other Florida statue. The reality however, in this world we live in, is the opposite and emanates from the top down. I wish you all the best trying to get this law changed and offer my assistance should you require it.
Paul Henry February 26, 2013 at 04:07 PM
If we are speaking about influences, we cannot leave out the effect on the economy. Yesterday I read a letter from Pinellas County Clerk of Court Ken Burke. He noted a photographer that had used Pinellas County for some work, spending about $4,000 locally while there. His rented vehicle later received an automated for-profit ticket, and since he was not cited directly, he had to pay the higher fine. He'll not be using Pinellas again. I find myself avoiding those areas in Tallahassee that have the devices. I don't run lights, but due to the high activation error rate there, I don't want to chance it. My "dog" is called liberty. Unlike the for-profit device companies and local governments, I do not have millions at my disposal. I made about $2/hour when I was paid to lobby in 2011. I made nothing in 2012, when I successfully defeated a proposal to place an RFID chip on all of our licenses- I actually lost money due to having paid a $50 lobbying fee for non-existent income. I was fortunate recently to get enough donations to cover travel expenses to Naples and Lakeland. I'd like to be able to make a living fighting for liberty. The reality however, in this world we live in, is the opposite. Many voice opposition to things like cameras and oppressive driver license laws, yet only a handful are willing to support the necessary legislative efforts financially.


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