Florida red-light cameras may be a thing of the past if new bill passes

Posted at 3:49 PM, Dec 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-10 15:49:04-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla- — The latest bill aimed at the repeal of red light cameras is up in the Florida House.

Howey-in-the-Hills Republican Rep. Anthony Sabatini is sponsoring a measure that calls for a repeal of the Mark Wandall Traffic Safety Program law. The 2010 law, named after a man killed by a motorist who ran a red light, paved the way for the use of red-light cameras throughout the state.

Sabatini says "the law isn’t altering bad driving behavior and it punishes working-class people with $158 tickets."

The House approved a similar proposal in 2018 but the measure failed to move forward in the Senate. The repeal effort has been opposed by the Florida League of Cities. A 2020 House staff analysis projected local governments could see a drop in revenue of around $75-million a year if the measure is ultimately approved. Critics say the cameras are intended solely for local governments to raise revenues.

On November 24, the Florida Supreme Court declined to take up a case about whether the South Florida city of Aventura’s red-light camera program violates state traffic laws.

The case stemmed from Stein receiving a citation for failing to stop at a red light in 2014 and focused on guidelines used by Aventura in deciding whether to cite motorists based on camera images.

“Red-light cameras in the Sunshine State and across the country are a failed experiment,” said Axl David, Florida Government Relations Director. “Automated photo enforcement was popular during the Great Recession for cash-strapped cities facing budget deficits. Since red-light cameras have proliferated in Florida, study after study has proven they only make our streets more dangerous.” David continues, “When red-light camera companies partner with law enforcement to incentivize unsafe driving, city officials are unlikely to jeopardize this valuable income source. The state legislature should send a clear message to local governments across Florida that this dangerous taxpayer scam must come to an end.”