In light of a recent report from the Florida Department of Transportation on the success of red light cameras, the Florida League of Cities has come out in support of red light camera programs as well.
In a statement released Jan. 4, the organization said with proven success in limiting crashes and with dwindling city resources for more officers, red light camera programs are an asset for Florida cities.
“Providing cities with the tools they need to keep residents safe is the Florida League of Cities’ No. 1 priority, and this technology has been proven to help authorities punish lawbreakers, reduce dangerous T-bone crashes and change the behavior of those drivers who selfishly choose to run red lights," the statement read.
“Due to budget constraints and unfunded mandates, local governments commonly have limited law enforcement resources, and photo enforcement helps stretch those resources," the Florida League of Cities statement continued. "Paired with traditional law enforcement techniques, red light safety camera technology makes Florida’s streets safer for drivers, bikers and pedestrians.
In St. Pete, according to data from the first year of the red light camera program, total crashes at intersections with red light cameras have gone up 10 percent. Despite that information, city council voted not to kill the program last month, which allowed Mayor Bill Foster to expand the program by nine cameras.
According to the city's report, red light related crashes have been declining in the first year of the program compared to the three years prior to installation of the cameras.
- Red light running crash rate net reduction of 25 percent,
- Red light running injury crash rate net reduction of 39 percent,
- Red light related rear end crash rate net reduction of 15 percent
The city has issued 36,185 citations to drivers running red lights, during the first year using the red light cameras. This has resulted in $707,226 in net revenues for the city, after costs to the vendor and the state were paid.
The number of cameras will grow from 22 to 31. The intersections include:
- Northbound at 34th Street and 1st Avenue S,
- Northbound and westbound at 34th Street and 22nd Avenue North
- Northbound and southbound at 34th Street and 5th Avenue N,
- Northbound and southbound at 66th Street and 13th Avenue North
- Northbound and westbound at 66th Street and 38th Avenue North.
The rest of the Jan. 4 Florida League of Cities statement on Red Light Cameras:
“While the data in this report suggests a significant positive effect on traffic safety, the Florida League of Cities believes the government closest to the people governs best, and nobody knows a city better than its residents. Some municipalities have determined that red light running is not a problem in their community and have chosen not to install traffic infraction detectors. Other cities, after holding public hearings and listening to concerned citizens, have determined that red light safety cameras will make their streets safer.
“The findings of the recent study reinforce what many cities already know and truly believe – red light safety cameras do save lives. However, Florida's 410 cities are all uniquely different – what works in Miami may not work in Sopchoppy and vice versa. As we approach the 2013 legislative session, the Florida League of Cities will continue to advocate for legislation that protects cities’ home rule power to decide what is best for the residents of its community.“
The study, based on a survey of the 73 local governments in Florida with active camera programs, found that the number of total crashes, angle-crashes and rear-end crashes all decreased from July 1, 2011, through June 30, 2012. A total of 44 percent of community police departments saw a reduction in side-impact crashes, 41 percent experienced a reduction in rear-end crashes, and 56 percent reported a total reduction in crashes at red-light camera intersections. In a state that ranked the third most deadliest in the nation for traffic related fatalities in 2010, the decrease in crashes adds up to saved lives and costs."