Florida bill would end use of red-light cameras

December 10, 2020

Keith Goble

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A renewed effort at the Florida statehouse would ban municipalities from using red-light cameras to issue citations.

There are 58 local governments around the state operating more than 500 red-light cameras, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Fine amounts of $158 are dispensed for actions that include turning right on red, failing to come to a complete stop, or crossing the line where a camera is focused on an intersection.

Numbers available from the agency show that municipalities statewide have sent out more than 1 million notices of violation annually for the past four years.

Additionally, the state’s numbers show the total crashes occurring at intersections before and after red-light cameras were installed has increased by 15%. The number of fatal crashes, however, has decreased from 28 to 24.

Attempts to repeal

Rep. Anthony Sabatini, R-Howey-in-the-Hills, has filed a bill to repeal the program allowing use of the ticket tool.

Sabatini has previously cited the program’s failure to improve driving behavior for his attempt to repeal the law.

The bill is Sabatini’s third attempt in as many years to do away with automated cameras being used around the state to issue tickets. The previous two efforts failed to receive any serious consideration.

In 2018, however, House lawmakers voted to advance legislation to ban red-light cameras. The bill died in a Senate committee.

This year’s version, HB6009, awaits consideration in committee for the regular session that begins in March.

Revenue generators

Officials with the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association say the focus on the revenue-generating devices ignores the more logical and reasoned approach to roads and traffic: keep traffic moving in as safe a manner as possible.

Others say the cameras are about raising money. A fiscal analysis notes that ending programs around the state could result in more than $70 million in lost revenue each year.

Opponents say local governments should have the freedom to make their own decision on whether or not to use the programs. LL

More Land Line coverage of news from Florida is available.

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Keith Goble

Keith Goble has been covering trucking-related laws since 2000. His daily web reports, radio news and “OOIDA’s State Watch” in Land Line Magazine are the industry’s premier sources for information regarding state legislative affairs.