1/16/2018Florida House Votes To Ban Red Light Cameras -- Eventually
Florida House of Representatives votes overwhelmingly to remove red light cameras three-and-a-half years from now.
Florida's red light cameras would go dark on July 1, 2021, under legislation that passed the state House of Representatives on Friday. By a vote of 83 to 18, lawmakers decided that they would allow motorists to hand over another $680 million in citation revenue before finally pulling the plug on a program that state statistics show has not reduced the number of accidents at intersections.
"I'm proud to have sponsored this bill with Representative [Bryan] Avila," state Representative Blaise Ingoglia (R-Spring Hill) wrote on his Facebook page. "It's time we get rid of red light cameras once and for all."
The support of Ingoglia, who serves as Florida's Republican Party chairman, suggests there is some momentum behind the ban. In previous years, the legislature's leadership would allow the measure to pass one body knowing that it would fail in the other. Past party leaders have been unwilling to give up the sizable annual revenue stream that the cameras represent. One of them, former speaker pro tempore Ron Reagan, was hired by the National Coalition for Safer Roads, a front group completely run by American Traffic Solutions (ATS), the leading provider of cameras in the Sunshine State.
In fiscal 2016, private camera vendors mailed out 1,227,927 tickets that cost $158 each. About one-third of motorists ignore the tickets, leaving the state with a net profit of $77.7 million along with $76.8 million for local government. Despite the number of tickets issued, the state motor vehicle department last year documented a 9 percent increase in the number of accidents, both angle and rear end collisions, where the devices were used. An updated state report with figures covering fiscal year 2017 is expected soon.
The House-passed legislation offers a straight-up repeal of the Mark Wandall Act, a measure championed by Melissa Wandall, a paid spokesman of the red light camera industry through the National Coalition for Safer Roads. For the repeal of the Wandall Act to become law, the measure must clear the state Senate and gain the signature of Governor Rick Scott (R). It would take effect July 1, 2021.
A copy of the bill is available in a 150k PDF file at the source link below.