Some would say that red light cameras may save lives, where others would say that they cause more damage than good. I say that is entirely up to us as a whole to decide whether or not we wish to “prevent accidents” or prevent the State of Florida from increasing revenue by taking advantage of its resident drivers.
In an article we found on the Miami Herald, we noticed that individuals associated with the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis is pushing to increase the use of red light traffic cameras and fight against a campaign to repeal them. They claim it is to deter drivers from running lights.
Cameras that catch drivers running red lights are supposedly installed for safety purposes, but critics are now raising their voices — calling them highway robbery.
The Federal Highway Administration says over a period of five years ending in 2010, nearly 800 people a year on average died in red light-running accidents.
Enter the red light camera: those automated sentries standing watch at intersections, snapping pictures of all who venture through after the light has changed. The cameras are in use in 541 communities across 24 states and Washington, D.C.
Ray Hunt, president of the Houston Police Union, said the issue is about safety at intersections. “The cameras create safer intersections,” he said.
Asked how a red light camera helps with not paying attention, Hunt said, “Red light cameras change behavior at those intersections. If the light changes to yellow, instead of hitting the gas and going through it, you are going to hit the brakes and stop.”
But the cameras have their critics. Michael Kubosh calls them “scameras.” He said, “They just scam the public, they’re not for safety.”
Brothers Michael and Paul Kubosh led a successful rebellion against red light cameras in Houston. The city took the cameras down more than a year ago. The brothers say the only reason cities install the cameras in is to make money.
It’s estimated that Houston earned $44 million during the four years the cameras were operating.
The question is, do they make people safer? A Federal Highway Administration study gave a mixed answer. At 132 intersections using red light cameras, right-angle crashes — what are commonly known as broadsides — dropped 25 percent. But rear-end crashes went up 15 percent.
Dr. John Large, a public health researcher at the University of South Florida, said red light cameras are “not helping drivers drive more safely.”
We recently published another article about AAA spokesmen claiming they felt these same cameras were a scam. The company complains the cameras are not just fining motorists for running through red lights but for turning right on red without coming to a full stop or getting caught in the intersection in heavy traffic. The most red light tickets are given out at 4th and New York Avenue, NW, D.C.. If the red light cameras are allowed in Florida and not repealed, there may be a new winner.