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Manatee County will suspend giving tickets for some red light runners

Traffic light and a surveillance camera
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Manatee County will suspend writing tickets for people who make right turns without stopping completely.

Red light cameras were first installed after a 2010 crash in Bradenton, where a man was killed by a driver who plowed through a red light without stopping.

Manatee County will suspend writing tickets for people who make right turns without stopping completely.

The suspension of tickets for the next four months comes after county commissioners said they've been hearing from residents who tell them the $158 tickets are a burden.

The move comes as the board decides whether to renew the contract with the company that monitors the cameras. Two-thirds of the tickets given at the county's seven monitored intersections were for right hand turn violations.

Commissioner Kevin Van Ostenbridge supported the move during a recent board meeting.

"I'd be willing to support eliminating right hand turn traffic tickets from red light cameras," he said, "and, if nothing else, when the contract is up I would like it to come back before this board and we can hash it out over again to discuss through-tickets only."

During that meeting, Commissioner Misty Servia opposed the move.

"I'm glad no one is getting hit every time there's a red light runner," she said. "But let me tell you, there are many red light runners I see making right on red that you're going to say is OK for four months or 120 days, and there are going to be people hurt."

Commissioners will look at crash data after four months to see if there was any change from when tickets were given. Sheriff Rick Wells said the cameras have not significantly reduced accidents.

Red light cameras were first allowed to be installed statewide, after a 2010 crash in Bradenton, where a man was killed by a driver who plowed through a red light without stopping.

Steve Newborn is a WUSF reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.
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