It takes a little while for the public and politicians to come around to libertarian thinking, but eventually they all do. Marijuana legalization gains greater acceptability; what was once thought of as paranoia regarding government surveillance of American citizens is now known and found unacceptable; the Defense of Marriage Act has gone away; cities across the nation are now filing for bankruptcy due to anti-libertarian policies; intervention into the Middle East is becoming more difficult for the government to justify; and now we are coming around to banning the much hated red light cameras.
Yesterday, one of the biggest proponents of enacting red light cameras in Florida, State Senator Jeff Brandes, called for their outright ban from the state. On Tuesday Brandes introduced Senate Bill 144 stating, “We have had red light cameras in Florida for over three years. They were initially sold as safety devices, but I have come to firmly believe that they are now being used as backdoor tax increases. We have seen municipalities that have installed these devices shorten yellow light times and set arbitrary standards on right-turn-on-red violations. I believe cities will continue to install these devices if left unchecked.”
Brandes states what libertarians have been advising for years concerning red light cameras. Several libertarians went to individual counties all the way to the state legislature when red light cameras were being considered with multiple studies proving their ineffectiveness and record of making intersections less safe, not safer as put forth by red light camera lobbyists.
In 2011 the Libertarian Party of Florida lobbied hard to ban the cameras at the state level, however we unsuccessful against the powerful red light camera lobby in Tallahassee.
In 2012, the Florida city of Hallandale found the cameras to increase accidents at the intersections they were installed.
There is a reason several other states have banned the cameras - and that is concern for the safety of its citizens. Maine, Arkansas, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, South Carolina and West Virginia have either outright banned them from their states or are used with narrow exceptions such as railroad crossings. Eighteen of the states have no laws allowing red lights cameras, however have no laws banning them either.