Red-Light Camera Ban Stays in House Fast Lane

Red-Light Camera
Posted at 3:11 PM, Feb 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-21 15:11:00-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (The News Service of Florida) - A House committee drove forward Tuesday with a proposal to ban red-light cameras in Florida, two weeks after a similar measure stalled in the Senate.

The House Government Accountability Committee voted 16-3 to approve the measure (HB 6007), which would repeal a law that allows Florida's cities and counties to install and use red-light cameras.

The proposal would repeal use of the cameras by July 1, 2020. However, the Senate version (SB 178) failed in a 2-2 vote by the Senate Transportation Committee on Feb. 7.

Despite that vote, Sen. Daphne Campbell, D-Miami, filed an identical bill (SB 630) last week. The House version, which was previously approved by two other panels, is now positioned to go to the full House after the annual legislative session starts March 7.

Advocates of banning red-light cameras argue their case was bolstered by a Dec. 31 report from the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles showing intersection crashes were up 10.41 percent when comparing data before the cameras were installed and after they were in place. 

Camera supporters complained the report was flawed because it included crashes up to 250 feet from the intersections.

They say the devices have improved roadway safety.

"I don't think that the solution to an imperfect system is to just repeal it all together," said Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, D-Orlando. "I think that's a knee-jerk reaction that has major implications."

Ban supporters said the cameras, which lead to a $158 fine for violators, have become a new revenue source for local governments and red-light camera companies.