Seeing Red: the return of red-light cameras to Florida cities

After a decline of red-light camera programs throughout Florida in the past few years, two cities – Pembroke Pines and Boynton Beach – join 16 cities in Miami-Dade County and four cities in Broward that still operate red-light camera systems. The fine for running a red-light camera is $158.00. However, if it is not paid within 60 days, the fine increases to $250.00 and becomes a traffic ticket that can be disputed in court.

The reason for the initial decline in the use of red-light cameras stems from a state appeals court ruling in 2014, which found that the city of Hollywood had given too much police power to a private entity (i.e. American Traffic Solutions, the company that installed Hollywood’s red-light camera network). Other Florida cities shut down their own camera networks in response. Afterwards, another appellate court found in favor of the camera systems, and ultimately, the Florida Supreme Court announced in May that it would take up the case.

Public opinion regarding red-light cameras is mixed, and so are the studies. For example, a 2016 report by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles found that accidents increased by 10% over a one year period in intersections with red-light cameras. On the other hand, incidents involving pedestrians decreased by nearly 20%.

In the end, it will be interesting to see what the Florida Supreme Court decides on this issue which has been hotly debated since its inception, as the use (or removal) of red-light cameras affects all of us who drive through Florida’s streets every day.


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