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New legislation fights to eliminate red-light cameras in Florida

Red-light cameras have often been used in Florida in an attempt to reduce the number of car accidents in the state. However, a recent report from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shows red-light cameras may not be very effective. The survey used crash data from July 2012 to April 2016 for 148 intersections all across the state.

According to the results, there has been a 10.14 percent increase in personal injury car accidents since before the cameras were installed. Rear-end collisions saw an increase of 11.41 percent, while crashes involving injuries were up just over 9 percent. Crashes overall are up due to a higher number of motorists on the road.

However, not all types of accidents saw an increase. Non-motorist accidents, including pedestrian accidents, decreased by almost 20 percent. Fewer accidents were caused by running red lights, as those accidents decreased by 3.14 percent.

While many cameras are still in use, the number of red-light cameras has dropped significantly for a multitude of reasons. As the number of cameras declined, violations actually increased by 27.5 percent.

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee will review this data regarding the cameras. Lawmakers may use this data to support their new legislation to get rid of the cameras by 2020. Supporters of this legislation say that the cameras only real purpose is to earn money for the government. Fines for the red-light camera violations yield in $60 million for the state. Moreover, some say the cameras do not appear to do much to increase safety. However, the cameras do have their supporters. According to one police sergeant, the cameras were responsible for a 51 percent reduction of intersection accidents in his area.

It remains to be seen what the future will be for red-light cameras in Florida. If a person is injured in a motor vehicle accident, whether it was at an intersection with a red-light camera or not, he or she may want to determine what, if any, legal action to take.

Source: SunSentinel, "Crashes up at intersections with red-light cameras, report says," Lloyd Dunkelberger, Jan. 5, 2017

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