Red light cameras have been in use for several decades worldwide, but their use has never been universally agreed upon. Proponents argue that the technology helps to save lives and reduce the amount of red light runners, while critics contend that the cameras are unconstitutional and are intended only to generate revenue as opposed to reducing crime. Twenty-six U.S. states allow the use of red light cameras, and many of the largest urban centers in America rely on the cameras to help catch traffic violators. However, many U.S. cities are now re-thinking their use of the cameras. Jacksonville, Florida has already begun removing the cameras, and now the Florida state legislature is set to vote on a bill which may see all red light cameras removed from the state.
The new bill, HB 6001, has already been approved by the Florida House of Representatives in an 83-18 vote. The bill will now go on to a vote in the Florida State Senate Florida Representative Blase Ingoglia (R) from Spring Hill told ABC affiliate WFTS Tampa Bay that the bill is intended to eliminate unnecessary financial burden on Florida drivers:
Red light cameras do not benefit the public—they only benefit local governments addicted to the revenue they generate and the companies that provide the services. If red light cameras were really about public safety, local governments would not be getting rid of them once their revenues decline. It is further proof they are nothing but taxation by citation.
If approved by the Florida state senate, the bill will take effect in 2021 and is expected to save Florida drivers close to $160 million each year. The vote comes on the heels of other changes to Florida traffic enforcement intended to save time and money for both drivers and law enforcement. Florida has consistently been ranked as the state with the worst drivers in America. Is removing Florida’s red light cameras a good idea?