News Release: Sachs Media
“Red light cameras are helping to save lives in our communities. This is a fact that Florida’s cities have known for years.
“OPPAGA’s report acknowledges that crashes are down 19 percent and fatalities are down 49 percent at intersections with red-light safety cameras. While we have many objections with OPPAGA’s findings and recommendations, if the question of whether or not this program is successful hinges on the number of lives saved, then the answer is a resounding yes.
“From Jacksonville to Miami and Orlando to Tampa and St. Petersburg, cities throughout the state are using red-light safety cameras to enhance road safety. We are concerned that the study has a biased and inconsistent analysis of the programs operating in more than 70 Florida cities.
“The report’s conclusion is not surprising given that it was requested by a legislator who sponsored a bill to repeal Florida’s red-light safety camera law. By OPPAGA’s own admission, much of its crash data is flawed. It’s also curious how this report issued by the state legislature criticizes local revenue but makes no mention of eliminating the state portion of the fine.”
By Eyewitness News
February 10, 2014, 5pm
74 cities and five counties operate red light cameras in Florida, and a new study by a state government watch dog is giving cameras a mixed review.
Red light camera revenue is up from $37 million from two years ago to a whopping $118 million last year.
Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) wants to repeal the 2010 law that allows red light cameras.
“We’ve tolerated this back door tax increase for too long. It is time we bring some common sense to the traffic policies of the state of Florida,” said Sen. Brandes.
A study by the legislature’s Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability (OPPAGA) found fatal crashes down by 49% at red light camera intersections, but the number of rear end crashes is up.
This report also found that revenue from red light intersections like this one goes to general revenue, not traffic safety.
The Florida League of Cities says the numbers prove the cameras are saving lives.
“Fewer people are running red lights, and the fact of the matter is 49% fewer people died this year as a result of red light running,” said Casey Cook, Florida League of Cities.
But opponents argue the data is sketchy. They appear poised to recommend big changes if they can’t engineer a full repeal.
“We should require that traffic studies be done for each and every intersection with a red light camera. Second, we need to require that traffic safety counter measures be implemented before installing red light cameras,” said Sen. Brandes.
A legislative committee will hear from the authors of this report later this week.
The cameras cost cities and counties between $4200 – $4700 a month for each camera. 15 cities generated more than a million dollars in revenue from the cameras last year.