News, Jazz, NPR
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

WUSF 89.7 depends on donors for the funding it takes to provide you the most trusted source of news and information here in town, across our state, and around the world. Support WUSF now by giving monthly, or make a one-time donation online at WUSF.org/give.

Politics / Issues

Florida Is Cashing in on Red-Light Cameras

red_light_camera.jpg
Bay News 9

While Florida's $158 fine is not as high as the penalty California red-light runners pay -$490 with one point on their drivers license - it is among the highest fines among the 24 states and territories with red-light traffic fines according to a Stateline report.

Florida drivers who were caught by red-light cameras paid more than $100 million in traffic fines last year. But whether the cameras made Florida’s roads safer—or just swelled state and city coffers—is an open question. “Three years ago, these red-light cameras were pitched as safety devices,” said state Sen. Jeff Brandes, a St. Petersburg Republican who has proposed a state ban on the cameras. “Instead, they’ve been a backdoor tax increase.”

This amid allegations that some Florida communities reduced the timing of the yellow lights to produce more ticket revenue and a new state law that charges Florida drivers $250 in administrative fees if they lose a challenge on a red-light ticket.

Some studies show that red-light cameras - at intersections where there used to be a lot of violations - have reduced the number of side-impact collisions. However, those studies also show an increase in rear-end collisions according to a 7-year study by the Virginia Transportation Research Council and research by Texas A&M Transportation Institute.

Compare Florida's fines with the 23 other states and territories that allow red-light traffic cameras. It's a $50 fine in Virginia and Tennessee. And you can find out which states have banned red-light cameras and which states are now using cameras to catch speeders.