Mess with the bull, the saying goes, and you get the horns. When it comes to doing away with red-light cameras in Florida, the “bull” is American Traffic Solutions, the largest red-light camera provider in the state. In this case, the “horns” are a full-frontal public relations attack against a bill (SB 144) filed by Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, to pull the plug on the cameras statewide.
City Council member Wengay Newton plans to ask the council to cancel the city’s contract with the Arizona-based camera vendor American Traffic Solutions. He also wants the city to refund money to nearly 2,500 drivers who were ticketed at intersections where it was determined the yellow light signal time was calculated incorrectly. This time he might have a chance.
A number of critics of Florida’s yellow light times recently took professional Lidar guns to Tampa Bay roads. Jim Walker, director of the National Motorists Association (NMA), and Joe Bahen, a Virginia traffic engineer who is also a member of the non-profit NMA, are trying to prove drivers didn’t have enough time to stop at red-light camera intersections. Walker and Bahen claim Florida’s yellow lights are often 0.5 seconds or more too short.
A 25-year-old student at the University of Texas at San Antonio was simply filming officers as they pulled over cars along a highway and posting the videos to Facebook. She was issued two citations at the scene: failure to obey a police officer and impeding traffic.
A local investigation found that drivers in Tamarac racing to the emergency room are being ticketed by one of the city’s red-light cameras. The city is making those violators pay the fine, even though they were having real medical emergencies.
A Republican lawmaker in Florida is setting his sights on reversing a policy that devastates the poor but gets little attention: suspending a person’s driver’s license. In an interview with the Tampa Bay Times, Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford gave a brief-but-brilliant master class on what criminal justice reformers call “collateral consequences.”
State Rep. Jay Hoffman wants to expand Illinois’ speed-camera law so that not just Chicago can install the devices. An Illinois law, passed by the legislature in 2011 and signed by Gov. Pat Quinn in 2012, currently allows speed cameras only in cities that have more than 1 million residents — meaning only Chicago.
The city council is set to vote yet again on the future of the controversial red-light camera program after officials Thursday admitted that yellow light times were too short at two more intersections policed by cameras. The lights were off by no more than two-tenths of a second, but city data shows that was enough for hundreds of motorists to misjudge the stoplight and end up with a $158 citation.
A “for sale” sign appeared yesterday morning on a speed camera in the southwestern Ohio village of New Miami, just days after a Butler County judge ordered the village to stop using the cameras to issue liability tickets. The prank posting stated “For Sale, $1,000,000” and was taped to a camera along Rt. 127.