Photo by Chris Phan courtesy of Creative Commons.
Kieron Williams/Staff Writer
Whether or not this is a good thing, however, is debated.
The Florida State Senate held a committee hearing to discuss some heavily controversial bills on the cameras on March 27 where Senate Transportation Chairman Jeff Brandes, who previously opposed red-light cameras altogether, simply proposed some modifications to the current law.
Suggestions included: allowing motorists to employ a “rolling stop” at speeds up to 15 mph when taking a right-on-red turn when no pedestrians were in the crosswalk, and that owners of vehicles caught on camera going through traffic signals 0.5 seconds after the colors changed from yellow to red can only be issued a warning.
Every amendment proposed by the chairman was either rejected or postponed.
“Changes like that just make common sense,” said Vinesh Kanusing, senior marketing major. “When motorcycles have to stop and start, it ruins their engine. Anybody who knows about motorcycles would know that, and you’d think that the Transportation Committee would pass something like that earlier.”
Other students oppose red-light cameras altogether, like Sofia Schlossman, a senior biomedical engineering student.
“A human should be making those decisions, since every situation is different,” she said. “I’d rather a police officer tell me what I had done right then and there so that I can know not to do it again.”
But the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles found in a January 2013 analysis that a total of 44 percent of community police departments saw a reduction in side-impact crashes, 41 percent experienced a reduction in rear-end crashes and 56 percent reported a total reduction in crashes at red-light camera intersections.
[pullquote]“I’d rather a police officer tell me what I had done right then and there so that I can know not to do it again.” Sofia Schlossman, a senior biomedical engineering student.[/pullquote]
Thus, state groups such as the Florida League of Cities oppose the chairman’s proposals.
“Florida’s red light safety camera program is a proven law-enforcement tool that reduces dangerous T-bone crashes and changes the behaviors of those drivers who choose to run red lights,” the league states on its website.
A Foster Folly News analysis cited, “Although most jurisdictions reported a decrease in crashes at intersections with red light cameras, the crash data maintained by the Department indicates that crashes at traffic control signal intersections typically increased, both statewide and in the surveyed jurisdictions.”
Meanwhile, Schlossman wants to see a change at least near FIU’s Engineering Center.
“There’s a red-light camera right on 107th and Flagler, and it goes off every time someone makes a right turn at a red light,” she said. “Even though the turn is totally legal, I always have to wait so much longer because the people at the front of the line to make that right turn are scared stiff by the camera. It’s annoying, and it happens every day. Either remove it, or do something about it.”
The Department of Parking and Transportation was unavailable for comment. –firstname.lastname@example.org