Red Light Proposal Says Hit the Brake, Not the Gas

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It only took a few minutes for us to catch several motorists blowing a red light just a few blocks from the Capitol. Statewide, the red light-running epidemic kills more than 100 people each year.

Motorist Travis Wasko says he’s narrowly escaped a couple of crashes with red light runners, especially during certain times of day.

Travis says, “When they’re during rush hour, when there’s a lot of stress, high stress and traffic, when they’re not paying attention, when they’re talking on cell phones.”

Lawmakers hope a bill awaiting the governor’s signature will make people think twice. Named for two central Florida girls killed by a driver who ran a red light last fall, the Anjelica and Victoria Velez Memorial Traffic Safety Act hikes the fine by 65 bucks.

Even though the new law more than doubles the fine on red light runners, it still would just be a moving violation, not a criminal offense. Cynics wonder if that goes far enough.
One of Tony Barnes’ co-workers was killed by a red light runner. He thinks the law should be even harsher.

The legislation does increase the assessment against your license from three to four points. Bill sponsor Dean Cannon thinks that will be a major deterrent, especially to those who routinely run red lights.

Rep. Dean Cannon, (R) Winter Park, says, “People who habitually violate the laws, that’s what accumulation of points penalty is, to make sure those people get some remedial help or end up with their license suspended.”

The legislation won’t bring back the two young sisters, but Cannon hopes it will make the streets a little safer. If Gov. Bush signs off on the higher fines, the additional money will help fund the state’s trauma centers. They estimate it's about seven and a half million a year. The law would take effect October 1.