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Red light camera ban continues forward in Florida legislature

It is seen as one the most hated statutes Florida has to offer travelers in the state - red light cameras. The cameras seem to be hated by liberals, conservative and libertarians alike. There is a bill in the Florida Senate (SB 144) that would effectively ban the cameras from the state. On Thursday, March 20. 2014, the Florida Senate Transportation Committee will discuss the proposal which will be a duel between big money for-profit companies willing to shower legislators with financial contributions and motorist safety advocates.

Also of concern to many Floridians is the aspect of rights which has been tossed back and forth between judges - some seeing as a clear violation of the U.S. Constitution, others not so much.

Of concern to opponents of red light cameras like Liberty First Network are the following:

• It is ineffective for safety (no users have published actual crash numbers, and a considerable number refuse to report crash data). The OPPAGA report showed no significant safety benefit and in fact showed an overall increase in crashes.
• Due to this type of crash being caused by inattention and/or impairment, no camera on a pole will magically awaken or make sober this type of driver.
• A proper means of addressing red light violations is that of properly-timed yellow lights.
• The camera scheme has an unacceptably high error activation rate.
• The camera scheme has resulted in several innocent owners being ticketed, who then had to go to the media to exonerate themselves.
• The camera scheme is contrary to American justice for things such as innocent until proved guilty and the ability to have witnesses in court.
• Turning law enforcement into a for-profit scheme has resulted in corruption.

Liberty First Network is asking its members to contact those state legislators who sit on the Transportation Committee (their telephone numbers are seen below) to tell them to support SB 144 at the March 20th meeting.

Libertarians normally do not favor too many bans, however in the case of red light cameras, they are willing to make an exception. Red light cameras have been on the agenda of the Libertarian Party of Florida and the Libertarian Party of Palm Beach County since 2007, mostly as a safety issue, however also as a traveler's rights issue. The libertarians are not in favor of people running red lights, however are more interested in seeing Florida travelers being safer at intersections rather than racking up auto body shop bills and medical bills due to the increase in accidents. In 2008, a study by the University of South Florida found the red light cameras a little more than revenue generators and less about safety. This is just one of a multitude of studies which show similar results and there are proven methods to reduce red lights running and crashes at intersections that do not involve red light camera usage and many of which had not been adopted at red light camera intersections.

Here are the telephone numbers for the Transportation Committee members:
Senator Gwen Margolis (850) 487-5035
Senator Jeff Clemens (850) 487-5027
Senator Miguel Diaz de la Portilla (850) 487-5040
Senator Greg Evers (850) 487-5002
Senator Rene Garcia (850) 487-
Senator Arthenia L. Joyner (850) 487-5019
Senator Tom Lee (850) 487-5024
Senator Garrett Richter (850) 487-5023
Senator Geraldine F. “Geri” Thompson (850) 487-5012

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