Remove intrusive red light cameras
Published: Sunday, March 20, 2011
Updated: Sunday, March 20, 2011 13:03
Orlando is known for its careless drivers, numerous collisions and long traffic jams.
One way state officials have tried to combat these problems and others state-wide is through red light cameras, but it doesn't solve the problem.
On March 18, a Florida House committee voted to outlaw the red light cameras, which were only installed last year. Although many doubt that the law will pass through Legislature, we hope for its success.
Red light cameras seem like they would be a good measure to prevent motorists from running red lights and cut down on the number of traffic accidents, but there are several other factors to consider.
Studies have found that — aside from rear-end collisions, red light cameras actually do reduce the number of traffic accidents, especially fatal ones.
We're obviously not proponents of running red lights — it's extremely dangerous and downright stupid, but we would prefer if the state would take different measures to ensure our safety at intersections that don't invade our privacy or levy outrageous fines.
Most people don't intentionally run red lights. It's generally someone who thought they had enough time to make the light but it changed color when they were almost safely across.
The reason most people dislike red light cameras is because they feel it's an invasion of privacy to have your photo taken while you're in your car. Oddly enough, this is also one of the main reasons drivers have the tickets successfully thrown out in court.
If the photo is blurry or the driver can prove that he or she couldn't have possibly been behind the wheel at the time, then they are not forced to pay the ticket or reveal who was driving.
In West Palm Beach, for example, so many motorists disputed their tickets in court that they were actually forced to hire additional members of their legal staff who represents red light ticket cases in civil court.
For most cities, the cost of court cases is hardly a bother considering how much profit these devices rake in.
According to an Orlando Sentinel article, between July 2010 and February 2011, the state has gained $8.4 million from tickets issued by red light cameras. We must also add that only $83 from each $158 ticket goes to the state.
Some speculate that these large numbers have inspired city legislators to up the ante and add red light cameras in non-dangerous intersections in order to cash in even further.
There's no excuse to intentionally run a red light. If you're really in that much of a rush you should plan some extra time for your daily commute. A few extra minutes at a stop light isn't worth risking your life.
The law to remove red light cameras at intersections is still working its way through the legal system but we hope to see it pass. As much as we hate the crime, we do not support the use of red light cameras and we feel that creating a longer all-red interval at dangerous intersections would be a better alternative.
As opposed to the less-than-two-second interval between green lights at intersections, extending the length by a couple of seconds is a safe and cheap way to reduce incidents.