Tampa Bay area motorists who received red light cameras
prior to 2010 won a small victory June 12, but that doesn’t mean refunds from
local governments will be in the mail anytime in the near future.
The Florida Supreme Court ruled 5-2 Thursday that red light camera programs put in place prior to 2010 Legislative action were illegal. While the court said local governments didn’t have the right to establish their own programs, because they conflicted with the state’s uniform traffic law, it stopped short of ordering a refund of fines, according to The Tampa Tribune.
Several Bay area cities, including Temple Terrace and Port Richey, put red light camera programs in place as early as 2008. Temple Terrace’s program netted about $1.4 million in fines between October 2008 and November 2009, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Port Richey’s program generated about $1.2 million in fines between May 2008 and December 2010.
While none of Pinellas County’s programs went live before the 2010 legislation, Hillsborough County began using red light cameras in late 2009. Figures on how much the county collected were not available.
Red light cameras have been a contentious topic across the state for years with proponents saying they save lives and opponents saying they’re used as “backdoor tax increases.”
The state tweaked its legislation in 2013, providing motorists more time to respond to red light tickets. The base fee for running a light was set at $158, and motorists were given 60 days to respond.
What are your thoughts on red light cameras? Should tickets paid before 2010 be refunded? Tell us by commenting below!