courtesy of the Pensacola News Journal
An End to Red Light Cameras in Florida?
So will Florida finally see an end to red light cameras?
The House Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee voted 12-1 on Wednesday to support a measure (HB 6003) that calls for a repeal of the Mark Wandall Traffic Safety Program law, effective July 1, 2022. The Mark Wandall law, named after a man killed by a red-light runner, passed in 2010 and allowed red-light cameras across the state.
Rep. Fentrice Driskell, D-Tampa, cast the lone vote Wednesday against the proposal. It is filed for consideration during the legislative session that starts March 5.
A similar proposal was approved 83-10 by the House during the 2018 legislative session but failed to move forward in the Senate.
Rep. Anthony Sabatini told the House panel that the law isn’t altering “bad” driving behavior. It also punishes “working-class” people with $158 tickets.
Sabatini said he’d be willing to amend the proposal so it wouldn’t conflict with existing contracts that local governments may have with red-light camera companies.
As of December, 49 local governments in Florida had red-light cameras in operation.
Jeff Branch, a lobbyist for the Florida League of Cities, disputed arguments that the state has seen an uptick in crashes at intersections with red-light cameras. However, local governments must continue to decide if they want to have red-light cameras in their communities.
Potential Drop in Revenue?
An analysis projects local governments could see a drop in revenue of an estimated $80 million a year if the measure is approved. Critics of cameras have long contended that the devices are primarily a way for local governments to raise revenues.
The House bill must still pass two committees before it could go to the full House during the upcoming session.
Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, filed a Senate version (SB 306), which has not gone before any committees.
Last May, the Florida Supreme Court rejected a motorist’s challenge to the way Aventura has handled red-light traffic violations in a case that had implications for camera programs across the state. The justices upheld a decision by the 3rd District Court of Appeal. Aventura may use a private contractor to review camera images. A city officer must make the ultimate decision about whether motorists were ticketed.
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