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Florida: Gulf Breeze Installs Illegal Camera System
Gulf Breeze, Florida defies state transportation department and attorney general to start lucrative red light camera program.

Gulf Breeze camera/Paul Stefon
A red light camera system installed ostensibly to enforce the law is itself in violation of Florida statutes. On March 1, the city began issuing automated $100 citations to motorists at the intersection of US 98 and Daniel Drive. This action puts the city in defiance of both a 2005 ruling from the state's attorney general as well as a new warning from the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). State Highway Engineer Freddie Simmons recently wrote the city to outline how the system was in violation of Florida law.

"Based on the current statutory framework, the [FDOT] can not allow the use of red light running cameras on the State Highway System at this time..." wrote Simmons. "Statute changes will be required to allow use on the State Highway System."

Last July, Attorney General Charlie Crist explained that a local red light camera ordinance violates Section 316.007 of Florida statutes which does not allow municipalities to "enact or enforce any ordinance on a matter covered by this chapter unless expressly authorized." The legislature has specifically refused to provide that authorization.

The panhandle city is one of six nationwide designated by AAA as a "strict enforcement" speed trap. "We hope we can work this out," Mayor Lane Gilchrist told the Gulf Breeze News.

Source: City, FDOT argue about cameras (Gulf Breeze News (FL), 3/23/2006)

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