Think red-light cams are backdoor tax grab? Here’s your bill

Red light cameras are used at the intersection of Belvedere Road and Parker Avenue in West Palm Beach, June 11, 2013. (Bruce R. Bennett/The Palm Beach Post)

Red light cameras have been used, for example, at the intersection of Belvedere Road and Parker Avenue in West Palm Beach. (Bruce R. Bennett/The Palm Beach Post)

If you think red-light cameras are Big Government picking your pocket with help from private industry, let state legislators know you support a bill to ban them.

SB 168 would eliminate red light cameras in Florida. It passed the Senate Transportation committee Thursday.

“The evidence is clear in support of a repeal of red light cameras,” said sponsor Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, in a statement. “Accidents are up at intersections with the cameras, and these programs have yet to demonstrate any added safety value whatsoever.  Local governments and the legislature are addicted to the revenue red light cameras generate. I’m proud to join my colleagues in the House of Representatives as we advance the repeal of this unnecessary and intrusive program.”

Others disagree that red light cameras are generally a bad idea — such as the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

“Red light cameras are an effective way to discourage red light running,” the group says. “Enforcement is the best way to get people to comply with any law, but it’s impossible for police to be at every intersection. Cameras can fill the void.”

Photo enforcement “is a valuable safety tool that study after study proves is preventing serious crashes and saving lives,”  said Russ Rader, the group’s senior vice president of communications.

Studies vary in this long-running debate. The Palm Beach Post found rear-end collisions and accidents increased in early use in West Palm Beach. Court challenges and rulings have slowed or suspended the use of the cameras in many places.



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