Red light camera installations – a result of 2010 legislation granted cities and counties authority to set up red light cameras at intersections to catch drivers who fail to stop – are under fire once again. A recently published report by the Tampa Police Department revealed that auto accidents at intersections with red light cameras increased as much as 39 percent from the year prior when no cameras were in existence. The increase of car accidents citywide during the same time period was found to be 46 percent, according to the report.
ATS & Tampa Under Fire
Tampa is one of American Traffic Solutions’ (ATS) largest customers in the state of Florida. ATS is the camera company that installed the cameras in cities across the state of Florida; it collects fees for the rental of the cameras and processing of citations.
Moreover, a group of Florida attorneys who have successfully defeated red light camera laws in other parts of the state have recently filed a lawsuit against the city of Tampa and ATS. The suit alleges the city improperly delegated enforcement of running the red-light cameras and issuing citations to ATS.
Tampa is not alone in facing a complete removal of red light cameras at its intersections; cities that are in a legal battle of this program include St. Petersburg, Gulfport, Oldsmar, Temple Terrace and Brooksville.
Presently, there are 57 cameras at 22 of Tampa’s intersections resulting in an average of 3,400 tickets issued every month due to the red light cameras. Since 2011, the city has issued approximately 190,000 tickets and collected over 11 million in fines, more than half of which have gone to ATS.
Red Light Camera Law
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a red light is run at an intersection by a driver approximately every 20 minutes. The city of Tampa’s website claims installation of the red light cameras would reduce auto accidents. The less-than-stellar results revealed by Tampa Police Department’s recent report have prompted Tampa officials to consider scrapping the program altogether.
According to critics of the red light camera programs, using this program violates Florida law, which states that only law and traffic enforcement officials are given the legal authority to determine a violation and whether or not to issue a citation. In Tampa, potential violations are reviewed by ATS staff prior to being referred to the Tampa Police Department. Officials then review photographs and video footage from the cameras to determine whether or not a violation occurred. Notices of violations and traffic citations are also issued by ATS, which critics allege also falls outside of Florida law.
Help in Orlando
If you or someone you know has been injured in an auto accident at a red light camera intersection – or on any other road in Florida – contact an aggressive Orlando car accident attorney right away. The legal professionals at Reed & Reed have been serving families in Tampa and the greater Orlando area for years and work hard to ensure their clients get the best recovery. Do not settle for less than what you are entitled. From our office in Brandon, we help clients in Tampa, New Tampa, Plant City, East Hillsborough County and throughout the state of Florida. Contact Reed & Reed for a free consultation.