The debate continues. Are red-light cameras positive for communities?

These somewhat new additions to area roads have been a topic of discussion again as the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles released a new survey showing an overall decrease in traffic crashes where red-light cameras have been installed.

Of participating agencies, 41 percent reported that rear-end crashes decreased at intersections with red light cameras installed, and 22 percent reported that there was an increase. Others showed no data or remained the same.

These statistics come from a survey taken by 73 counties and municipalities in Florida. A total of 404 intersections in Florida have red light cameras installed, according to the survey.

For side-impact crashes, 43.8 percent of respondents saw a decrease, and 11 percent saw an increase, with the rest showing no change or no data.

About 56 percent of agencies saw a decrease in total crashes, and 15 percent saw an increase.

Some agencies reported that in addition to a decrease in total crashes, traffic safety improved throughout the ¬jurisdiction, as drivers were more cautious when approaching all intersections.

Despite statistics showing a general improvement at intersections with red-light cameras, a South Florida lawmaker filed legislation this month to repeal the law allowing the use of the cameras.

Rep. Daphne Campbell, D-Miami Shores, filed House Bill 91 calling for the removal of the traffic infraction detectors and removing authority of counties and municipalities to install the detectors.

She said to the News Service of Florida these cameras unfairly give out tickets to people who can’t defend themselves.

“The red-light camera companies exploit victims to push Florida laws to gain millions,” Campbell said in a previous statement. “People are presumed guilty by the picture of the camera. The corporations are the ones making the money.”

In Milton, cameras are at Dogwood Drive and Hamilton Bridge Road, Caroline Street and Glover Lane, and Caroline Street and Parkmore Plaza.
For more information on red-light cameras in Milton, visit www.ci.milton.fl.us/redmeansstop.htm.

About the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles study

The reporting period was from July 1, 2011, to June 30, 2012