The Texas legislature banned them in its last session in 2019 (Texas has a bicameral legislature). Now, it’s Florida’s turn to ban red-light cameras.
Representatives have passed a bill to do just that in the last two sessions, but each bill was always stymied in the state senate. State Representative Anthony Sabatini posted HB6009 in early December and really does not like this policing for profit mechanism. He said in an interview, “They are just a taxpayer fraud scheme. They are just a way for local governments to pad their pockets and raise more revenues.”
Sabatini added that his research shows that the state’s DOT cannot prove RLCs make intersections safer:
“They actually make us less safe. There’s been traffic studies conducted by various government organizations, and what they find is accidents actually go up at intersections that have red-light cameras.”
According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, 58 local governments operate more than 500 RLCs. Statewide, cities and towns have sent more than one million violation notices annually for the past four years. Also, total crashes at intersections with RLCs have increased by 15 percent since the automated devices were installed.
Fines are $158. Motorists can receive a fine if they turn right on red (legal in the state), fail to come to a complete stop, or cross the white line (even an inch) at an intersection. A recent state analysis projected that local governments could see a drop in revenue of around $75 million a year if HB6009 passes.
Sabatini said that the current law is not altering ‘bad’ driving behavior and punishes lower-income residents with the $158 ticket. This will be the third year he is trying to repeal the 2010 law. In 2018, the House approved a similar measure, but the bill failed to move forward in the Senate.
Sabatini told the Florida Daily, “What we need right now with COVID is as much tax relief as possible. The more we can cut people’s daily living expenses and taxes, the more we are going to be helping them.”
Educate yourself on this motorists’ rights issue by checking out these resources on the NMA website:
- Red-Light Camera Issues Page
- Red-Light Camera Fact Sheet
- 10 Reasons to Oppose Red-Light Cameras
- How to fight Red-Light Cameras in Your Neck of the Woods
- Red-Light Cameras Do Not Reduce Right Angle Crashes
- “These Cameras Are Not a Safety Tool . . .”: NMA E-Newsletter #556
- NMA Reboot: Ticket Cameras Create Major Due Process Concerns
If you would to become more involved in defeating red-light cameras in Florida, contact
NMA Florida Government and Public Affairs Director Axl David at [email protected]. This is what he said recently about RLCs:
“Red-light cameras in the Sunshine State and across the country are a failed experiment. Automated photo enforcement was popular during the Great Recession for cash-strapped cities facing budget deficits. Since red-light cameras have proliferated in Florida, study after study has proven they only make our streets more dangerous.”
“When red-light camera companies partner with law enforcement to incentivize unsafe driving, city officials are unlikely to jeopardize this valuable income source. The state legislature should send a clear message to local governments across Florida that this dangerous taxpayer scam must come to an end.”
If the RLC ban does not pass in 2021, it will be time to organize a ballot initiative to vote them out of existence.
Thank you for your support of Florida motorists’ rights!