Florida Lawmakers Ponder Removing Traffic Cams

Florida’s red-light violators may have something to celebrate if a proposed senate bill is passed.

An act related to uniform traffic control has been filed, and if passed would remove traffic cameras from the state of Florida.

Newly acquired state Sen. Rene Garcia, R-Hialeah, and Rep. Richard Corcoran, R-New Port Richey, respectively proposed SB 672 and HB 4087, concerning uniform traffic control measures.

If either bill is passed, they could call off the Mark Wandall Traffic Safety Act signed by Gov. Charlie Crist last July. The law’s repeal would have a direct impact on the city of Tallahassee.

The Traffic Safety Act was created for many reasons, but mainly to decrease the number of casualties caused by red-light runners.

As of Aug. 1, 2010, the city of Tallahassee has been enforcing fines for violators who are captured by traffic cameras, already installed at some of the city’s major intersections.

On Jan. 13, The Famuan reported safety cameras have been monitoring major intersections around the city.

“The Red Light Camera Safety program is an effort to reduce the number of red light violations that could have important life saving benefits to the citizens living and working in Tallahassee,” said Alison Faris, a representative in the city of Tallahassee’s communications department.

Garcia, deemed traffic cameras as “An unwarranted, big-brother initiative,” and hopes SB 672 will eliminate the variety of perceived infractions, which cannot be determined from a camera alone.

In Tallahassee, there has been a significant reduction in the number of red light violations since the implementation of the program.

“The city has issued an average of 34 Notices of Violations per day,” said Faris.

“Over time, we hope the number of violations decreases as drivers become more conscious.”

Revenue from citations goes to state trust funds and municipalities; the removal or changes to the Traffic Safety Act could have a huge impact.

“State legislation specifies that $70 is allocated to the state, $10 to the Dept. of Health Trust Fund, $3 to the Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Trust Fund and $75 to municipality (in this case, City of Tallahassee),” said Faris.

Repealing the law would subtract funding for some city services.

“Any revenue received from the Red Light Camera Safety Program is used to pay for city services such as parks and recreation and public works,” said Faris.

According to Dick Cannon, FDOT communication director, the effect of a possible repeal is unclear.

“The department has not yet reviewed senate bill 672, and will not be able to comment on the effects that the bill can possibly have on Florida,” said Cannon.