By finding against the plaintiff—who claimed the city of Aventura, FL gave too much power to the outside vendor who monitored the cameras to determine violations via photos taken—the court basically greenlit the use of red light cameras again in the state of Florida.
This ruling preserves Florida’s red-light camera law, which has been under attack for accusations the cameras are unconstitutional; separate state appeals courts both approved the law and found against it, which led to the case being presented before the state’s top court.
Cities using the program rely on private red-light-camera companies to help determine whether the law is being broken: these companies take out unusable video and then send potential violations recorded to a police officer to decide probable cause.
Several elected local government officials have stated that, despite the new rulling allowing them, they have no plans to turn their red-light cameras back on.
“The data I saw showed that we were decreasing public safety with rear-end collisions,” said Hallandale Beach Mayor Keith London. “If it’s (red light cameras) a detriment to public safety, why would I bring it back?”
Hollywood, FL Mayor Josh Levy also said he has no intention of bringing back the red light camera program in his city: “I think enforcement can be done with police officers,: he said, “If anything, I think red-light cameras make intersections less safe, with drivers slamming on their brakes too aggressively from fear of camera tickets.”
Proponents of the law argue that it is needed to curb the incidents of red light running. A study published by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Highway Loss Data Institute found that a motorist ran a red light on average every 20 minutes at the intersections studied. And during peak travel time, red light running was more frequent. 36 percent of drivers surveyed reported running a red light at least once over the past 30 days.
The study also noted that red light running causes hundreds of deaths and tens of thousands of accidents and injuries each year. In 2016 alone, 811 people were killed in crashes in which red light running was a factor.
Locally, the National Coalition for Safer Roads (NCSR) published an interactive map of the 7,799 red-light running fatalities between 2004 and 2013, and found that Miami was a top ten city for red-light running fatalities with 82 total fatalities. More than 600 fatalities happened in Florida alone.
NCSR President Melissa Wandall said, “You can’t be blind to red-light running when you look at this map.” Wandall lost her husband to a red-light runner in 2003. In fact, it was the Florida Legislature’s Mark Wandall Traffic Safety Act that established the use of red-light cameras in the state.
Wandall admits the issue hits close to home for her
“I live this every single, solitary day.”
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident by a red-light runner, the attorneys at Thomas and Pearl want to speak to you.
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