Red light cameras have always been a debate since they first debuted. With mixed opinions on most any and every issue going on in America, there is no surprise that every year there is an attempt in The Florida Legislature to repeal the 2010 passed law. The question of “should red light cameras be legal or illegal” is a broad subject that is will soon be answered.
The Florida Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that the state’s red-light cameras are legal. This decision has ended years of litigation and settling disputing state appeals court rulings that ruled both against and in favor of the state law regarding red light cameras in Florida. The ruling was 7-0, though three justices concurred in a separate opinion.
Ed Guedes of the South Florida-based firm Weiss Serota Helfman Cole and Bierman represented more than 50 city and county governments throughout the lawsuits, which have been winding through lower courts since 2011.
“From a societal perspective, I think one of the good things that I hope will come of this decision is that local government entities will reexamine the question of having a red light camera program,” he said. “Ultimately, I think the programs are effective and I think they achieve good objectives in terms of public safety.”
Although the case of legality is now no longer an issue, the criticism will certainly always remain. Many debates regarding red-light cameras include the question of whether these cameras are really put in place in the effort to make a safer roadway or a way for the cities to maximize their cash income. Just like every argument, there are two sides to every story.
For those in favor of the legality of the red-light camera system, believe that they will reduce the number of intersection accidents and ultimately save lives. Statistics gathered by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in 2007 showed that nearly 900 people were killed and 153,000 were injured in collisions at intersections nationally. For those injuries that turned fatal, half were pedestrians and drivers that were deceased due to individuals running a red light. According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, red light cameras reduce violations by 40-50% and injury crashes by 25-30%.
Those that are against red-light camera integration believe that although the cameras reduce the amount of front-to-side crashes, they actually increase the number of rear crashes due to drivers slamming on their breaks at the last minute to avoid running a red light which gives the drivers behind them little to no time to come to a complete stop. Results from a study conducted by the University of South Florida College of Public Health showed the cameras are not necessary in Florida, where the number of traffic fatalities caused by drivers running red lights accounts for less than 4% of the annual traffic fatalities in the state. Another critic argument is how the red-light system works. As a vehicle is committing a traffic violation, the camera takes a picture of the license plate in which a ticket for the violation is mailed out to the registered owner of the vehicle. What if the owner of the vehicle was not the one driving who committed the violation? Legally, they are held liable.
What will change with this new Florida state law? This new law will put an end to the ability for red-light runners to cite a state appeals court decision in the effort of attempting to get their citations thrown out. Call a Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorney if you have been injured in an auto accident. Our lawyers are ready to help get you the compensation that you deserve!