Traffic | WCTV Eyewitness News: Tallahassee, Thomasville, Valdosta

Red Light Camera Repeal

By: Eyewitness News Email
By: Eyewitness News Email

No need to smile... It's not your face, but your license plate that could wind up on a camera Matt McCoy is determined to avoid.
He'll admit it. He used to run a red light every now and then, but no more.

"There's lots of small roads and, you know, you're going through, you know, you're on your way to lunch or whatever, but I don't do it at certain intersections, and if I know they're going to take my picture, I'm definitely going to stop!" says Matt McCoy, a local motorist.

Especially given the threat of a 158-dollar fine. The minimum under Florida's new red light camera law.

They've quickly become Florida's silent, omnipresent enforcers, but, in a flash, they could all disappear. All because lawmakers aren't happy about what they've done.

New legislation could repeal the law, which only took effect back in July. The argument? Cities and counties are using red light cameras primarily to help pad their budgets. Our goal is not to give people tickets; our goal is to get people to stop at the red lights.

Tallahassee Assistant City Manager Michelle Bono calls the claim ridiculous. She points out half of every fine goes directly to the state, and most of the rest is spent on the operation of the cameras.

"At this point, it's not looking like it's going to be a huge source of revenue for the city, but the goal was, it's about safety and getting people to stop, and we're really pleased that in Tallahassee people are hearing that message." says Michelle Bono, Assistant City Manager.

In fact, since the cameras were installed, violations at just one intersection have gone down from more than 450 to just 34 a day. A dramatic improvement Matt can believe.

People are nuts - they need to slow down!

So too, he says, do lawmakers...At least red light cameras give us a better snapshot of what their value really is.


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