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Oldsmar moves ahead on plans for red light cameras

OLDSMAR — The light is green for the installation of red light cameras in the city.

The City Council unanimously adopted an ordinance this week authorizing the use of the photo detection equipment.

City Manager Bruce Haddock said the next step is to hire a vendor.

"We're in the process of reviewing a contract with American Traffic Solutions," he said Friday. "It will go back to the council for their consideration, likely in January. I expect we'll know the locations by mid January."

Fifteen intersections have already been identified as possible sites in the city.

In November, Brad Swanson, a sales representative from American Traffic Solutions based in Arizona, outlined key points about how the system works before the council.

• Violators will be issued a $158 traffic citation, with $83 going to the state and trauma centers. The city receives $75, with which it pays the vendor a $47.50 lease fee per camera approach. There is no initial investment for the city. The vendor owns, installs and maintains the camera.

• The violator must pay the fine or schedule a court hearing.

• No points are issued and the violation is not reported to insurance companies.

• Warning signs will be placed 60 to 100 feet in front of an intersection stating that it is photo enforced.

Since state law enacted July 1 allowed vendors to install and maintain the lights, about a half dozen cities in the bay area have approved their use.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, more than 40 cities in Florida operate or are in the process of installing cameras.

Proponents say they will decrease accidents and help cash-strapped cities, while opponents call them money-making schemes that could cause more rear-end collisions as drivers stomp on brakes.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety favors the use of red light cameras.

According to information on its website — www.iihs.org — red light cameras reduce crashes, deaths, injuries and property damage. The institute's testimony in June to a congressional committee included:

• Red light running was the most common cause of all urban crashes (22 percent).

• Extending yellow lights reduced violations by 36 percent and camera enforcement further reduced the remaining violations by 96 percent.

• A review of international literature concluded that camera enforcement reduces injury crashes 25 to 30 percent.

Oldsmar moves ahead on plans for red light cameras 12/10/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 14, 2010 3:38pm]
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