Rep. Daphne Campbell, D-Miami, filed legislation Friday seeking to end the use of the cameras. Campbell's bill, (HB91) ,would repeal the state law that allows the fleecing of Florida residents and tourists by the red light camera companies and local jurisdictions hungry for more revenue.
The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles released a report showing that crashes were less frequent at red light camera intersections, based on data from 73 agencies. The report said accidents were less frequent in intersections with cameras in 41 jurisdictions but up in such intersections in 11 jurisdictions.
The rest of the 73 jurisdictions where they are in use didn’t have the data, and the State didn’t say what the overall numbers were in the report, which was sent to lawmakers.
The other 21 jurisdictions indicated they did not have the data, but you can bet they can get it, probably have it and it's not favorable so they conveniently don't make the information available.
In St. Petersburg, the City proudly proclaimed only 36% of those paying red light camera fines were City residents. So welcome to St. Pete all you visitors and tourists. Bring a few extra bucks for the red light bandits.
The red light camera business is a sleazy business, one of those public/private enterprises that should simply not exist. There is too much money floating around for the effort to remain objective. And way too many opportunities to lie and cheat.
In St. Pete, the Traffic Management Department carefully omitted information that total crashes had gone up at red light intersections. When I worked for the City lying or misleading City Council would get you fired.
They apologized when they got caught, the Mayor smiled, no one got a reprimand and City Council, unwilling to listen to reason and totally taken by the money, voted yes to continuing a program over half of the Citizens did not want according to a recent poll.
There is little hope that Rep. Campbell's Bill will pass after the red light camera companies get done spreading money and a hoard of high paid lobbyists around Tallahassee.
As they often said when I was in Tallahassee, the Florida Legislature is the best Legislature money can buy. And for this one there are plenty of $500 checks to go around.
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