Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Despite questions over red light cameras, St. Petersburg moves forward

ST. PETERSBURG — Despite growing questions about whether red light cameras make intersections safer, the City Council continued its support of introducing them by next summer as a way to fine motorists who don't stop at traffic signals.

The City Council voted 6-1 on Thursday to hire a vendor to install 20 cameras among the city's 298 intersections with traffic lights. Once cameras are installed, drivers who are recorded passing through a red light will get a $158 ticket. If the ticket isn't paid within 30 days, the fine will increase to $256.

"People will blow through lights," said council member Bill Dudley, a former driving instructor. "It's unbelievable. The only way you can impact them is to hit them in the pocket. This is about public safety. I've seen the results."

Yet it's unclear what effect the cameras have on red light running. Just last month, Los Angeles' city controller concluded that the cameras have failed to demonstrate an improvement in safety after 32 photo-enforced intersections were studied. Other studies, including one from the University of South Florida's Department of Public Health, show the cameras increase the number of rear-end collisions.

Council member Wengay Newton said he had doubts about the cameras and cast the lone vote against them. The cameras don't improve safety, he said, and are only a way to bring in more revenue. He suggested the city not fine those who are caught on camera.

But Mayor Bill Foster is unwavering in his support of the cameras and said the fines are necessary to deter future violations.

"I don't see red light running any differently than driving under the influence," he said. "Pretty soon you will kill someone. The idea that somehow we're not going to punish people who put others at risk, that's ludicrous."

Michael Van Sickler can be reached at mvansickler@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8037.

Despite questions over red light cameras, St. Petersburg moves forward 10/07/10 [Last modified: Monday, June 27, 2011 3:59pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Who is in charge during a hurricane? Hillsborough County and Tampa still can't agree

    Hurricanes

    TAMPA — Who has the authority to order an evacuation during a hurricane?

    Mayor Bob Buckhorn says he has evacuation authority.
  2. Gators rally past Kentucky, streak hits 31

    Blogs

    LEXINGTON, Ky. — For the second week in a row, Florida found itself storming the field in a game that came down to the last second. A 57-yard field-goal attempt by Kentucky kicker Austin MacGinnis came just a few feet short of making history and snapping a 30-year losing streak, as the No. 20 Gators escaped a …

    Florida wide receiver Brandon Powell (4) scores a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Kentucky, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, in Lexington, Ky.
  3. Pen makes it way too interesting as Rays hang on for 9-6 win

    Blogs

    A couple of home runs provided the news pegs of the night for the Rays, but it was more topical to talk about what nearly happened as they hung on for a 9-6 win over the Orioles.

    Lucas Duda's three-run homer in the third inning was the Rays' record-breaking 217th of the season, as well as his …

  4. An attempt to project what Rays will look like in 2018

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — We know what the Rays look like this year: a team that had enough talent but too many flaws, in construction and performance, and in the next few days will be officially eliminated from a wild-card race it had a chance to win but let slip away.

    Adeiny Hechavarria, high-fiving Lucas Duda, seems likely to be brought back.
  5. Trump fallout: Bucs' DeSean Jackson to make 'statement' Sunday

    Bucs

    Bucs receiver DeSean Jackson said Saturday that he will make a "statement" before today's game against the Vikings in response to President Donald Trump's comment that owners should "fire" players who kneel in protest during the national anthem.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson (11) makes a catch during the first half of an NFL game between the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017.