Red Light Cameras Under Fire

An average, 1770 people are caught running a red lights by a traffic camera every day in Florida. The $158 fine generated about a hundred million dollars last year. Since the cameras were first allowed, lawmakers like State Senator Jeff Brandes have been trying to get rid of them.

"We're seeing cities reduce the timing of their yellow lights, change the standards on right on reds to increase tickets. So for the most part it was sold as a safety device, but some of these cities are using it to raise taxes," said Brandes.

The cameras were authorized in 2010 after lawmakers were shown clips like this one.

Prior to the 2010 law, at least two dozen cities and counties set up red light cameras without legislative approval.

Now motorist who got tickets in 2008, 9 and 10 have sued to get their money back.

The case has made it all the way to the Florida Supreme Court. More than one judge was skeptical that lawmakers intended cities to write tickets using cameras.

"The local governments have the power to set up parallel traffic system," said Justice Fred Lewis.

The court didn't rule yet but if it does decide in favor of drivers, refunds could be forthcoming.

"I think it's relevant for anyone who got a citation prior to the enactment of the Wandel Act in 2010, this certainly is going to affect if they get a refund or not," said Attorney Jason Weissman.

The court case and the repeal aren't directly related, a ruling for motorist could go a long way toward convincing law makers to scrap all the cameras.

While red light repeal legislation is gaining momentum over concerns for privacy, a more likely outcome is a new law standardizing yellow light times.


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