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Campaign promise by Tampa mayoral candidate would ban red light cameras in the city

Posted at 5:17 PM, Feb 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-12 18:35:39-05

Mayoral candidate David Straz has released a new campaign ad, and one promise he makes is to ban red light cameras in the city of Tampa.

Straz launched a television commercial on Tuesday saying, "do we really need red light cameras? No. We don't."

There are currently two bills in the Florida legislature to ban red light cameras in the state.

ABC Action News reached out to each candidate for their stance on red light cameras:

Mike Suarez, FOR:

I was the victim in a red light crash as a young man. The force of the collision caused the car that hit me and the car I was driving to be fused together. Had the driver of the other vehicle hit my side door instead of the engine area, I may not have survived the crash. I have supported this technology because it makes our streets safer and it provides funds to Tampa General Hospital as a Level 1 trauma center. Is it a perfect system; no. But it is a tool used to try and change driver behavior as they approach a red light to help alleviate a very dangerous condition on the road.

Harry Cohen, FOR:

“Automobile accidents caused by red light running are likely to cause serious injury and deaths. Red light cameras are an important tool to enhance public safety. If you do not want to get a ticket, do not run red lights.”

Jane Castor, FOR:

"I am and always have been committed to improving safety for every Tampa citizen or visitor who uses our roads, highways, sidewalks and bike paths. As a former Tampa Police Chief, I’ve seen first-hand just how deadly and violent red-light running related collisions can be. I’ve also seen the value of the video and still image evidence they provide investigations. There is no doubt in my mind that Red Light Camera programs are an important tool in improving road safety, making people think before they put others in danger, and ultimately in saving lives."

Topher Morrison, FOR & AGAINST:

According to a staffer with Morrison, he says he agrees with the safety, but not the for profit.

His stance is that the current red light cameras that we have are horrible. They were purchased not because they work, but because they were tied to a special interest group that is tied to a current mayoral candidate.

David Straz, AGAINST:

“They’re not making us as safe as originally indicated. It’s just another way for the government to take money from hard working people,” said Straz. “Ask anybody in Tampa and almost everybody has either gotten a ticket from a red-light camera or they know someone who has.” Straz added, “I won’t accept any more than $500 from any individual or entity so I have the freedom to do what’s right for the people without regard for what lobbyists or special interests want. In this case, that means getting rid of red-light cameras as quickly as possible.”

Dick Greco, Jr., FOR:

“So long as the process requires the option of appearing before a judge should the individual charged wish to defend him or herself, I feel the cameras can be an additional tool to help curb the incidents of persons running red lights.”

As of the time of this article, we have not heard back from Ed Turanchik

ABC Action News reached out to the city of Tampa and asked how much revenue the red light cameras have generated for the city and found in 2018 $3.2 million was generated from the cameras.

We asked Straz's campaign how he would make up for the lost revenue that the city would lose if he would ban them, and we're told that he has publicly stated he would do a full audit for the city of Tampa.