(The Center Square) – According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, 63 cities in Florida operated 638 red light cameras in 2018.
On November 24, the Florida Supreme Court declined to hear a case challenging the South Florida town of Aventura’s red light camera program, essentially ruling that the cameras do not violate State traffic laws and are constitutional.
With legal attempts to ban cities and other agencies from installing red-light cameras having failed, Florida lawmakers will again see bills to legislate them down.
Rep. Anthony Sabatini, R-Howey-in-the-Hills, who has introduced bills for the past two years to ban red light cameras, has again submitted a measure that would ban local governments from installing them .
Sabatini’s Bill 6009 would ban “traffic violation detectors” by repealing Senate Bill 294 of 2010 that created the Mark Wandall Traffic Safety Program, which authorized the use of red light cameras throughout the city. ‘State.
The Mark Wandall Safety Act was named after 30-year-old Mark Wandall, who was killed in October 2003 when the car he was traveling in was hit – ‘T-Boned’ – on State Highway 70 in Sarasota after a motorist ran a red light.
The law allocates a portion of each fine to research to help victims of motor vehicle accidents who suffer traumatic injuries.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), 22% of all traffic accidents in the United States are caused by drivers running red lights. Crashes at red-light intersections resulted in more than 800 deaths and $7 billion in property damage, medical costs, lost productivity and increased insurance premiums each year in 2019, according to estimates from the ‘IIHS.
Since 2010, however, Florida lawmakers have attempted to repeal or amend the Mark Wandall Security Act every year.
The House overwhelmingly approved proposals to ban red-light cameras in 2013 and 2018, but the bills failed to gain traction in the Senate.
In 2019, Sabatini’s proposed HB 6003 passed the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee in a 12-to-1 vote, but never advanced any further. Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, filed a Senate version, SB 306, which was not heard in committee.
Sabatini’s 2021 HB 6009 is essentially the same bill as his 2019 HB 6003. He argues that Florida’s red-light camera law is intrusive and fails to improve driving behavior while punishing people for the working class with $158 tickets for “taking a right on red, not stopping or barely crossing the line when a camera is at an intersection.
Studies to assess whether red light cameras improve driver safety have produced conflicting results. The general consensus is that while raising awareness of red-light cameras has reduced side-to-side collisions at intersections, it has also increased the number of rear-ends as motorists brake hard to avoid a ticket when they see a sign indicating that red light cameras are in operation.
A House staff analysis of a proposed 2020 bill, HB 6083, which proposed to preempt all local laws related to the regulation and use of red light cameras in the state, provided that Florida local governments could lose up to $80 million of the $100 million generated annually in ticketing revenue from red-light cameras if lawmakers repeal the law.
Sabatini’s measure will certainly be opposed again by the Florida League of Cities.
Florida Supreme Court’s November decision not to uphold motorist Lee Stein’s challenge to Aventura’s red-light camera program upholds a July 3rd District Court of Appeals ruling that supported the city.
The Supreme Court’s refusal to hear Stein’s case essentially closes the door to contentious efforts to strike down the state’s 2010 law.