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Thread: Red Light Cameras in Florida

  1. #1
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    Red Light Cameras in Florida

    Red light cameras are spreading across the United States with a list of over 3000 sites and growing as of last year. The latest area where camera profiteers are camped out is in the state of Florida where the Senate Transportation Committee headed by formerly anti-camera senator Carey Baker held a workshop on the subject.

    Committee members and the audience were treated to a 2-hour PowerPoint presentation and Q/A session by a spokesman from ATS describing the so called safety benefits of red light cameras. The room was filled mostly by the obvious contingent of police personnel, camera vendors and various public officials literally licking their chops at the revenue that these devices will produce while saying that it is not about the money.

    In addition, Melissa Wandall, who lost her husband in an tragic accident was there to testify in favor of these devices as well. Her husbands accident was caused by a distracted woman who ran a red light many seconds after the light in her direction was red.

    That illustrates a part of the problem with red light cameras. Red light cameras catch all violations of the red light with amazing efficiency. While upwards of 90 percent of red light violations occur within the first second of the light turning red, more than 90 percent of accidents occur after the light has been red for 5 seconds or MORE, according to statistics gathered in a 2004 study by the Texas Transportation Institute.


    Therein lies one of many problems with the cameras ? Like under posted speed limits, red light violations caught this way, they make ?technical foul? violators (to borrow Eric?s term) out of many people who?s split second violations largely do not pose a real and present danger to opposing traffic.

    Studies actually prove this as the same TTI study showed that by increasing yellow light duration 1 second beyond the standard Institute of Transportation Engineers guidelines, violations and accidents were reduced by 40 percent. Individual studies done by VDOT showed a 90 percent reduction in violations when they increased yellow light duration in Fairfax, VA. Mesa Arizona had a similar 73 percent reduction in violations when they increased their yellow light timing as well.

    That said, would these measures have saved Mark Wandall?s life? No, but a camera wouldn?t have either. His death was an unfortunate tragedy that could only have been avoided if that woman had been paying attention to her driving first. Drivers need to be reeducated in Florida and elsewhere. This is not likely due to the focus of the Senate Transportation committee on making standards for RLCs while not allocating state funding for real driver education in Florida.

  2. #2
    DonTom
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    Re: Red Light Cameras in Florida

    "Red light cameras catch all violations of the red light with amazing efficiency. While upwards of 90 percent of red light violations occur within the first second of the light turning red, more than 90 percent of accidents occur after the light has been red for 5 seconds or MORE, according to statistics gathered in a 2004 study by the Texas Transportation Institute."

    Here in CA, and I assume in all other states, "blowing a red light" is defined as the rear axle passing the line (visible or not) where the sidewalk ends at the intersection while the light is already red. If not going too much over the speed limit, one should always have enough time to stop. The more dangerous intersections have a six second yellow light, others have three.

    The camera is a lot more accurate than a cop when it's close. A cop can give you a ticket when it looks like you blew the light when you did not. The red light camera won't make such a mistake.

    Of course there will be more tickets from the cameras but that is only because the camera is there 24 /7. I bet if a cop was there 24/7 there would be more tickets for blowing red lights, not less, because the cop will give tickets for what it looks like to him, and he's going to favor giving a ticket when it's close, but perhaps you already passed the line by one inch by the time the light went red.

    I favor the use of red light cameras.

    But I do not like what they do in England where if you can go a mile in distance faster than the speed limit permits you can get a ticket. The speed cameras are mainly to collect revenue.

    IMO, the red light cameras have already well proved themselves to be mainly for safety.

    -Don-





  3. #3
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    Re: Red Light Cameras in Florida

    [quote=DonTom ]

    Here in CA, and I assume in all other states, "blowing a red light" is defined as the rear axle passing the line (visible or not) where the sidewalk ends at the intersection while the light is already red. If not going too much over the speed limit, one should always have enough time to stop. The more dangerous intersections have a six second yellow light, others have three.

    The camera is a lot more accurate than a cop when it's close. A cop can give you a ticket when it looks like you blew the light when you did not. The red light camera won't make such a mistake.

    Of course there will be more tickets from the cameras but that is only because the camera is there 24 /7. I bet if a cop was there 24/7 there would be more tickets for blowing red lights, not less, because the cop will give tickets for what it looks like to him, and he's going to favor giving a ticket when it's close, but perhaps you already passed the line by one inch by the time the light went red.

    I favor the use of red light cameras.

    But I do not like what they do in England where if you can go a mile in distance faster than the speed limit permits you can get a ticket. The speed cameras are mainly to collect revenue.

    IMO, the red light cameras have already well proved themselves to be mainly for safety.

    -Don-



    With all due respect, cops take anywhere from 10-15 minutes to issue a ticket. Cameras can do it in a matter of seconds. Of course, it takes 2 weeks for a violator to be notified of the offense by mail. 2 weeks is a minimum figure. Sometimes, it can take months.

    Cameras are subject to technical errors as well, sometimes issuing tickets to the wrong person. The license plate databases are not always correct. These are technical issues, however.

    The safety problems with RLCs are becoming well known, as injury accidents increase when they are installed.

    The problem is not the 1 second on red violator. The problems are the people who blow the light after it has been red for 5 seconds or more.

    Red light cameras have not been shown to reduce the number of angle collisions significantly, while rear end accidents, which are more conmmon always increase.

    I agree with your comment on speed cameras, however.


  4. #4
    DonTom
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    Re: Red Light Cameras in Florida

    "With all due respect, cops take anywhere from 10-15 minutes to issue a ticket."

    They can take a lot longer than that. You can wait half the day in many cases, such as when they stop many cars at once. In fact, years ago, I was held for hours (with many other bikers) when stopped on a motorcycle south of Napa, CA where every cycle got stopped because of using the "soft shoulder" when all cars were stopped for hours because of a truck that jackknifed miles ahead. The choices were to either stay there all day (which they had to do in a car) or use the soft shoulder to get to the next exit, which had a cop stopping every cycle to give a ticket. No doubt the city made a lot of money from those bikes, me included.

    "Red light cameras have not been shown to reduce the number of angle collisions significantly,"

    I don't know what other cities have done wrong, but in SF they have reduced by more than half with the RLCs.

    Here are some facts on RLCs:

    http://www.iihs.org/research/qanda/rlr.html

    -Don-


  5. #5
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Red Light Cameras in Florida

    "They can take a lot longer than that. You can wait half the day in many cases, such as when they stop many cars at once. In fact, years ago, I was held for hours (with many other bikers) when stopped on a motorcycle south of Napa, CA where every cycle got stopped because of using the "soft shoulder" when all cars were stopped for hours because of a truck that jackknifed miles ahead. The choices were to either stay there all day (which they had to do in a car) or use the soft shoulder to get to the next exit, which had a cop stopping every cycle to give a ticket. No doubt the city made a lot of money from those bikes, me included. "

    A textbook case of cops being pricks - and of abuse of power. Yes, you were technically guilty of a violation; but there was a good reason for it - and provided you were being careful and just trying to get away from the mess, at most, a warning was justified. Assholes.


  6. #6
    DonTom
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    Re: Red Light Cameras in Florida


    "A textbook case of cops being pricks - and of abuse of power."

    Yep. That's the way I felt then too. But perhaps he was told to do that, so it's not real clear who the real AH is.

    -Don-

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