Not a fan of red light cameras? You're not the only one. St. Pete-based Florida Senator Jeff Brandes has filed a bill that would fully repeal the state's red light camera program.
Implemented in various jurisdictions throughout the state, including the greater Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater areas, the red light camera program has been an economic cash cow for Florida. The program generated more than $100 million in revenue last year in approximately 70 Florida cities with 52.5 percent of that money going right back to the state Channel 10 News reports.
With each violation costing $158 for any vehicle running a red light, drivers may think twice about taking this dangerous risk, an obvious positive for road safety in Florida. But, since the introduction of red light cameras (RLCs) in Florida over three years ago, the state's had a hand in reducing yellow light times at many RLC intersections, a move many, including Senator Brandes, say is part of the problem.
In 2011, Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) changed the state's policy on yellow light durations, reducing the minimum time below standard federal recommendations, 10 News reports.
10 News also found that a handful of Florida cities, many of which are right here in the Tampa Bay area, have reduced their yellow light times to the absolute minimums.
New Port Richey, for instance, was instructed by the FDOT to reduce its red light camera-equiped Main St. yellow light time (at U.S. 19) from 4.0 seconds to the bare minimum, 3.0 seconds.
The red light camera intersection at Bell Shoals Road and Bloomingdale Avenue in Valrico was reduced from 4.0 seconds to the minimum, 3.6 seconds.
And, more throughout the state have experienced similar time reductions since the FDOT changed the yellow light time duration standards over two years ago.
Senator Brandes recognizes his efforts to repeal the state's red light camera program with his new bill, SB 144, might be a tough effort. Similar bills have been killed in Tallahassee over the past three years according to Creative Loafing Tampa.