A Republican Liberty Caucus of Florida-supported bill to repeal the red light cameras enacted last year will be considered by the Florida House of Representatives. The legislation, HB 4087, will be considered by the House, while its companion version in the Senate, SB 672, is stalled.
Melissa Wandall, whose husband, Mark, from Bradenton, was killed by a red-light camera runner in 2003. At the time, Wandall was nine months pregnant. Wandall vowed after her husband’s death to do something about drivers who run red lights. She pushed for the law former Gov. Charlie Crist signed last year, known as the “Mark Wandall Traffic Safety Act.”
However, Rep. Richard Corcoran, R-Trinity, cited a slew of examples from cities and states across the country where he said the cameras were not preventing accidents.
Courts have thrown out many red-light camera tickets, he added, saying the problems with implementing last year’s bill are “overwhelming.” Corcoran argued intersections could be made safer using other measures, such as changing the timing of traffic lights and improving signage and road painting. “Let’s step back and figure out a way from scratch where we can make these intersections safer for our families.”
A portion of the $158 fine issued to drivers caught by the cameras goes to the state. Since July, the state has received the most money from Orlando ($1.1 million), Miami Gardens ($928,000), Aventura ($911,000) and Hillsborough County ($907,000).
The bill now heads to the House floor.
One of the pieces of the Florida RLC’s 2011 Agenda includes “banning red light cameras” because, “Our Constitution says citizens have a right to face their accuser, yet their accuser in this case is a machine.”
Last week, Tea Party and libertarian groups including the RLC held protests throughout the state to support Richard Corcoran’s bill to repeal the red light cameras.