Ban the Cam? Red Light Camera Enforcement Hits Home

After writing a check for $158, the red light camera enforcement issue becomes personal, prompting this reporter to conclude: "Let the driver beware."


Ban the cam?

I'm tempted to join the cause, given the check I recently mailed off, for running a red light at the intersection of East Hillsborough Avenue and North 22nd Street in Tampa.

In the paperwork sent to me by the City of Tampa, you can see my car, clear as day, a blue Toyota framed against the backdrop of a brightly painted AMSCOT building, with three red traffic signals to the right as I make my turn to the left.

“Failure to comply with a steady red signal” set me back $158.

I could fight the violation notice and its subsequent fine, as I recall making that drive and telling my passenger, “I think I made it through, do you think there’s a camera there?”

Well, there was a camera there, and I didn't time it as well as I thought I had, and now that I’m $158 in arrears, you can bet your bottom dollar that I’ll be a lot more conservative in my thinking when it comes to navigating yellow lights at intersections.

As for “Ban the Cam,” that’s the sign that protestors are seen carrying in the final seconds of the latest video posted by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, which is attached to this posting.

The county has red-light cameras at the following intersections:

  • Fletcher Avenue and Bruce B. Downs Boulevard
  • Sligh and Habana avenues
  • Brandon Town Centre and Brandon Boulevard
  • Bloomingdale Avenue and Bell Shoals Road
  • Waters Avenue and Dale Mabry Highway
  • Waters Avenue and Anderson Road

(For the record, my ticket came from the City of Tampa, which has its own set of cameras installed.)

The sheriff's video is informative to view as you decide your own position on the county's Red Light Enforcement Program, which kicked off Dec. 29, 2009. According to a sheriff’s Web site posting, “deputies review each photograph and corresponding data and determine if there was a violation of Florida State Statute 316.075(1)(c)(1)."

At Brandon Patch, we often hear from readers opposed to the use of cameras to catch red-light violators and I am sure we will hear from them again with this posting.

To prepare for your own debate conclusions:

As for me, I wrote my check and vowed to be a bit more careful when it comes to red-light intersections, if for no other reason than while I might be in control of my actions, I cannot control the actions of other drivers.

From the looks of the video, it behooves us all to remember: "Let the driver beware."



Jim February 06, 2012 at 03:49 PM
The cameras (indirectly) block emergency vehicles - because cars stopped at a camera hesitate to get out of the way! Other side effects: Rearenders, $$$ sent to Oz, AZ or Goldman-Sachs, where it won't come back, and tourists and shoppers driven away. Worse, a false expectation of safety, because cameras can't stop the real late runners, who cause the accidents. (If cameras worked, camera sellers wouldn't have the crash videos they supply to the media.) Want safety, no side effects? To cut car/pedestrian accidents, train your kids not to step out just 'cuz the walk sign came on. To cut nuisance running (a fraction of a second late), lengthen the yellows. It's cheap to do so can be done all over town. The dangerous real late (multiple seconds) runs won't be stopped by the mere presence of a camera, because the runner won't know (a tourist) or won't remember (a distracted or impaired "local") that there's a camera up ahead. They're not doing it on purpose! To cut the real late runs, improve the visual cues that say, "Intersection ahead." Florida's DOT found that better pavement markings (paint!) cut running by up to 74%. Make the signal lights bigger, add backboards, and put the poles on the NEAR side of the corner. Put brighter bulbs in the street lights at intersections. Put up lighted name signs for the cross streets. Who needs cameras and their side effects?
melisabrein March 15, 2012 at 10:33 PM
I ran into a similar problem recently at the same intersection and when I tried to contest the ticket they refused even though I was clearly through! Cameras like these are way too Orwellian and should be taken down because having cameras at intersections is one short step away from having them everywhere else. My recent burglar alarm ( http://www.burglaralarms.org/ ) I installed doesn't even come camera ready and I paid top dollar for it!


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