Under the Lens: Red Light Cameras

By: Whitney Ray Email
By: Whitney Ray Email

Tallahassee, Florida- August 1, 2012

Red-light cameras are under attack on several fronts. Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled in favor of the devices in one of four red-light camera challenges it will hear. The Florida Supreme Court is being asked to rule on an Orlando case. As the court battles rage on, there is one man on a mission to pass legislation banning the devices.

Perched high above roadways throughout Florida, hundreds of red light cameras wait to catch drivers breaking the law.

“It caught my son,” said Susan Campbell.

Even though her son had to pay the fine, Susan Campbell supports red-light cameras.

“The photo, the video and the bill, it’s all real clear what’s happened and it’s good,” said Susan.

Katherine Papp does to, and her mom was caught.

“She called the people and argued with them. I said ‘ma, you can’t do that’,” said Papp.

But hundreds of drivers are challenging tickets issued by the devices. Four cases have made it to Florida’s Forth District Court of Appeal.

One of the court challenges involves who issues the tickets. They come in the mail, but the plaintiff argues they’re illegal because they’re actually issued by a company in Arizona rather than a Florida police officer.

The Florida Supreme Court has been asked to rule on a case out of Orlando. Paul Henry, a former state trooper and retired sheriff’s deputy, isn’t waiting on the courts. He’s taking his fight to lawmakers with this repeal bill.

“I see a lot of injustices taking place,” said Henry.

Henry wrote a report highlighting cases where the wrong person was ticketed, and other people were fined for passing through on green.

“One of things they say ‘just don’t run the red light and you wont have these problems,’ well that paper that you’ve read has pointed out, at least 10 case, couple of which are here in Florida, where people haven’t run red lights and they’ve had this problem,” said Henry.

Henry says he’s also concerned about the cameras pushing Florida closer to a surveillance society, where Big Brother watches everything we do.

Supporters of the controversial cameras say they save lives by reducing accidents at intersection. Henry and other opponents point out, that the cameras cause more rear-end collision because people are stopping on yellow.

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