Most types of accidents actually increased at intersections with cameras.
Red-light cameras might be among the most loathed innovations of the last few decades. And many Florida cities that once embraced the electronic tattletales have shut them down, including Daytona Beach and Ormond Beach. Palm Coast was the last local holdout, ending its traffic-camera program in April. But they’re still allowed in Florida, and still operating at more than 400 intersections, spitting out more than 1.1 million tickets in the fiscal year that ended June 30. It’s time for the Legislature to pull the plug.
There’s a long list of problems with the cameras. Start with the fact that drivers are assumed guilty unless they can prove they are innocent — citations are mailed to the registered owner of the car, who might or might not be the person behind the wheel. And because there’s no in-person traffic stop, many drivers may not realize they’ve been ticketed — a possibility born out by the fact that roughly a third of violation notices aren’t paid, automatically converting into uniform traffic citations.
But the biggest argument against the cameras is that they delivered little in the way of public safety. A year-to-year state analysis that’s been running since 2013 shows that most types of accidents actually increased at intersections with cameras — including crashes with serious injuries and fatalities.
The House could act, as early as today, on a bill (HB 6001) that would shut down red-light cameras, and the Senate should follow suit. It’s rare that the Legislature is justified in overriding city and county officials, but in this case, the civil-rights and public-safety motivations trump local control.