Florida Red Light Camera Law Change?September 28, 2010 | in Rules of the Road: Driving Tips
I found it interesting that up until this past July, residents of Florida were getting right-on-red citations from red light camera’s. In Collier county, it was determined that close to 90% of the citations issued from the 19 camera’s in the county were right-on-red citations. In April, 5,401 citations were issued. In August, 671. These citations are automatic fines and you cannot take a Florida traffic school course to dismiss.
Why would it take so long to “fix” an obvious flaw? REVENUE. The camera vendor for Collier County receives $75 per citation, yet pays the county $8,250 per month to “manage” the program. The balance of the fine goes to the State. So as long as there are more than 110 citations issued from the Red light camera’s, its a strong business for the camera vendor. Or is it a meaningful contribution to road safety? To me, it appears that the Florida legislature saw dollar signs that could be generated without too much effort from the uniformed deputy who would normally stop you for a violation.
Now motorists are challenging the states use of red light camera’s to fine drivers saying the camera’s assume the driver is guilty until proven innocent. This violates the basic principal of the justice system by putting the burden of proof on the driver. The motorist can either pay the $158 fine, or submit proof that they were not driving. Lawsuits across the state are suggesting the city/state should have to prove the owner of the vehicle was the one driving the vehicle at the time of the camera citation.
There is no telling how this will all turn out, however at least one smart law change was made this past summer … right turn on red, is no longer a fine from a traffic camera. The red light camera program is still effective for the straight through and turning left. I still think that those far more dangerous issues should not just be a monetary fine, but something that the driver MUST attend (like a defensive driving course. There is an obvious need for those drivers to be re-educated on the dangers they bring to other motorist when they run red lights.