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No More Red Light Cameras? Here's What Sarasota's Saying

As the Florida House of Representatives considers outlawing red light cameras around the state, here's what some Patch readers had to say on the subject.

Since we told you last week about a bill under consideration by the Florida House of Representatives that would strike down the use of red light cameras, Patch readers have had plenty to say on the topic.

Our story, Red Light Cameras: Should They Stay or Go?, received more than 120 comments as of Tuesday night. Here's what some Sarasota Patch readers had to say: 

SRQDude: "The PROOF of the fact that these cameras are ONLY there to make money is the fact that the "Photo Enforced" signs are hard to find and hard to see and are way off to the side. In other words, if they were REALLY there to keep us safer, then the sign would be hung up on the crossbar right next to the light, like those "No Turn On Red" signs are!!"

Paula Garavalia: "These re-timed lights with cameras are just a way to raise extra revenue & are a real pain. I'm barely surviving on S.S. & just got hit with a $158 fine on Cortez Rd (and it wasn't even me driving). Read that lights had all just been retimed. I noticed i a few re-timed lights on the way home from Sarasota last night. Lights turn almost immediately from green to red. Yellow is very brief! Everyone should write to their congressmen about this matter."

Norman Schimmel: "Are you aware that you cannot (even though there is public tape of your "infraction") protest the ticket, until 60 days has passed. That means that the fine has doubled and so you are playing roulette at $316, by the law. This is totally rediculous."

Mary Anne Servian: "There is no due process. Whether you are the driver or not you are guilty. Take them out" 

Do you agree? Should red light cameras be banned in Florida? Why or why not? Share your thoughts in the comments section below to continue the conversation.

Wyatt Fletcher March 22, 2013 at 02:54 AM
Yeah.., red light cameras are just about safety... Right... http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/2013-03-21/news/redflex-execs-in-phoenix-quit-over-corruption-investigation/full/#.UUtyM-vWEq8.facebook
Hawkeye March 22, 2013 at 11:56 AM
Wyatt; I hope the vendors who lease the red-light cameras make record profits. I wish the fines for running a red light were $500.00.. It's about breaking the law. It's about running a red light and possibly killing someone. Wyatt, this is a fact; "Residents of the state of Florida simply do not obey the law" Wyatte, they honestly think that Red is simply another color. This is no joke and it's sad. People need to pick up a copy of the Florida Law handbook, available at any DMV office. They truly feel driving is a God Given Right and you know what Wyatte; 'it is not'! You break the law, you pay the fine...it's that simple.. Next!
Wyatt Fletcher May 14, 2013 at 06:23 PM
Hey Hawkeye, you can choose to be a proponent of this for safety and law enforcement sake, but the evidence continues to mount about how red light cameras are manipulative and intended for revenue generation, and being implemented in ways that in fact purposely put drivers at risk and compromising safety. Want proof, take a look for yourself... the state, county, and city governments have intentionally shortened yellow lights, to the tune of 50+ MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR! Just watch and learn... http://www.wtsp.com/news/local/article/316418/8/10-News-Investigators-discover-short-yellow-lights
Charlesworth Longtooth III May 14, 2013 at 08:46 PM
Let us all make sure we remember how we are being sold down the river under the guise of safety and adherence to the laws when the next election is. Today's city run-off election was a great place to flex your opinion without making a contribution of cash. No legislation dealing with the most dangerous and life-threatening issue on the road today has been enacted. Texting while driving has been proven again and again to be at least as dangerous as driving while intoxicated, so why no law? The same reason these cameras are up and taxing us; the work and cash of lobbyists. Remember to write your state legislatures and county commissioners, even city officials and let them know how you feel. ATS has already been charged with bribing different officials around the country to implement these revenue generators, they hired one of the slimiest convicted criminals in Larry HAWKins, former Dade county commissioner, but not until he voted to approve the ATS deal with Dade county.
csillio May 29, 2013 at 05:50 AM
I think we all agree that catching the reckless red light runners is a great idea. However it is not so great when you realize that the system is being abused by authorities and private companies to generate more revenue: - It is not ok to reduce the yellow light time in RLC intersections ref: http://www.wtsp.com/comments/316418/8/10-News-Investigators-discover-short-yellow-lights - it is not ok to fine somebody who makes a right turn on red in a careful and prudent manner (see Mark Wandall Traffic Act) ref: http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0300-0399/0316/Sections/0316.0083.html - it is not ok to issue citations when local authorities do not follow federal regulations. For example the overhead "no turn on red" sign is not illuminated in the intersection of US 41 and University Pkwy (Sarasota, FL) but people are still being fined for making a right turn on red when the sign is not visible at night. ref: http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/HTM/2003r1/part2/part2b1.htm#section2B13]FHWA - MUTCD - 2003 Edition Revision 1 Chapter 2B - It is not ok to place the burden on the owner of the car to prove who was driving the car at the time of the violation. ref: The Constitution of the United States of America - corruption is not ok ref: http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/2013-03-21/news/redflex-execs-in-phoenix-quit-over-corruption-investigation/full/
Hawkeye May 29, 2013 at 11:46 AM
csillio; I hope the companies reap millions. The bottom line here csillio, is Red is not an option as most drivers think it is. csillio, Red means STOP! Period, end of story. It's that simple. Pick up a copy of the Florida Drivers Handbook, available at any of your DMV's. I hope they use every trick in the book to make a profit. Then maybe, and just maybe, people will begin to obey the law. The victims of red-light-runners have rights too.
Charlesworth Longtooth III May 29, 2013 at 08:21 PM
Pick up a copy of the constitution Hawkeye. You are the only one who fails to see the real problem with this issue, which leads me to believe you are either a representative schill paid my ATS and its lobbyists to post on these sites, or you will gladly sacrifice your freedom for a small amount of perceived safety. Either way, you have failed to sway anyone on this site and it is time to call a spade a spade. Are you one of the "concerned citizens" that is paid by ATS's lobby group? No wonder you hope the companies make millions, I'd wager you paycheck depends on it.
Charlesworth Longtooth III May 29, 2013 at 08:27 PM
Thank you for the excellent research posted here, I am going to help spread it further. The privatization of prisons is next, because when you introduce profit motives to punish citizens nothing good can come out of it. There's a reason states that have had these revenue generators in their jurisdictions for a few years are racing to get them taken down, and to see companies like ATS spend millions to sway politicians into keeping them only strengthens our arguments. Chicago, perhaps the most corrupt city in the nation, has charged some of its politicians for taking boatloads of cash from ATS, I hope we send any politician that accepts these payments to prison, along with the ATS executives.
Hawkeye May 29, 2013 at 08:29 PM
Charlesworth Longtooth III Where is the constitution which protects a victim from a red-light runner? Do me a favor Charlesworth Longtooth III, go visit a trauma center of any hospital and see the victim laying there with a breathing tube taped to their mouth who has suffered severe injury due to a red-light runner. Better yet Charlesworth Longtooth III, follow the foot-steps of any police officer or Sheriff Deputy, when they need to go to a parents home of a victim of an accident, and need to notify them that their son or daughter will not be coming home. What price do you place on human life Charlesworth Longtooth III Now, tell me about a violation of one's rights?!
Hawkeye May 29, 2013 at 08:45 PM
Charlesworth Longtooth III I withnessed a motorcyclist get hit broadside by a red-light runner on Bahia Vista and US-41. The biker was thrown 15 feet from his bike into a utility pole,. His furnur was sticking out of his flesh. Luckily, he survived. What I was appaled about, was the driver complaining of the $178.00 fine he received for running the red light and how he was going to put food on the table. No Charlesworth Longtooth III you are dead wrong here pal. I've no sympathy for red light runners or the fines they pay. Again, what price do you place on human life Charlesworth Longtooth III
Charlesworth Longtooth III May 29, 2013 at 09:01 PM
So because you witnessed a bad accident that makes it OK? You are entitled to your opinion, but I know much more than you about trauma pal, I work as an ER nurse. Let me tell you something about trauma. I have seen hundreds of accidents in my first three years here, including compound fractures like the ONE you saw, and many much worse. There are 25 accidents caused by texting while driving to every one 1 caused by a red light runner. You think because you witnessed one bad accident we should drop our 4th Amendment rights and submit to being spied on? Your single experience is dwarfed by reality, and you are governed by your emotion. I think you need some PTSD counseling to come to terms with what you saw. If we were to hire more deputies to watch these intersections that would be fine. But to put the burden of proof on someone and make them guilty until proven innocent forsakes the Constitution, something hundreds of thousands of Americans have died for. We are not a police state, at least not yet. The red light program is a scam, everyone else here recognizes that, and despite your horrific experience we are not swayed. Where do you draw the line? Should we make it mandatory to include a breathalyzer in every new car because by your logic it would reduce the number of DUI accidents? Never-mind, you are the type to gladly allow that law. Thank God for others that are logical and not so emotional. You stand alone sir.
Hawkeye May 29, 2013 at 09:31 PM
Charlesworth Longtooth III : 'Spied on' ?! You worry about your 4th/ amendment rights? and you state I saw ONE bad accident?! Charlesworth Longtooth III; ONE Red Light Runner is in fact; 'One too many pal'! And all this whining about violating your personal rights?! Save the crap. The problem is, people simply do not give a damn about human life and will continue to run red lights and simply do not give a crap about the consequences of running one and possibly killing someone. Yet you 'worry' about violating their rights. Where are the rights for the victims? Tell me that Charlesworth Longtooth III; "where are the rights of the victims" ? I'd use ever measure available to save a single life. If it means cameras, so be it! And the hell who ever makes a dollar off them. Again Charlesworth Longtooth III; what price are you placing on a human life. You are more concerned about one's privacy and don't give a damn about the very victims who are getting hurt every day due to the negligence of red light runners. You are a very sick person Charlesworth Longtooth III a very sick and demented person indeed.
Hawkeye May 29, 2013 at 09:41 PM
Charlesworth Longtooth III; just wait until one of the red light camera whiners has a relative severely injured or worse, killed, due to a red light runner offender. Then, see how much their argument turns a complete 380 degree turn-around..
Charlesworth Longtooth III June 03, 2013 at 04:52 PM
That's right Hawkins, I don't value human life. That is why I work in an emergency room. While explaining to me the road rules why not explain why the yellow lights were shortened. And while you do, try not to repeat the same rhetoric you have given in every other post on this board.
Charlesworth Longtooth III June 03, 2013 at 04:56 PM
Wyatt, its obvious that "Hawkeye" is a paid shchill from ATS, and his commentary is the exact same given to our lawmakers by the ATS lobbyists that spend millions to put these things up. Look up disgraced former Florida politician Hawkins, he is the top paid lobbyist in Florida for ATS.
Hawkeye June 03, 2013 at 05:03 PM
Charles; Red means 'STOP' period. No grey area, no if ands or buts. Charles, if one drove the speed limit and not ten miles per hour over, you wouldn't need to worry about the timing of a yellow light. You drive on US-41, do the speed limit and even if the yellow light lasted for a second, you would have ample time in which to stop your vehicle. So stop your whining, obey the laws of the road. But don't come crying to me if you get a ticket. If you get one, you 'deserve' it. Remember, the very next life you save by not running a red light, could be someone's child, parent, grand-parent.
Charlesworth Longtooth III June 03, 2013 at 05:03 PM
He he, now we are name calling? Try answering any of my questions Hawkins. Where are the victims rights? The same place that any victim of ANY other crime is..in the courts. You have no clue about victims Hawkins. I am going to go be "sick and demented" as you put it. I hope to see you in my ER someday so we can discuss this further.
Hawkeye June 03, 2013 at 05:05 PM
Charles; Red means 'STOP' period. No grey area, no if ands or buts. Charles, if one drove the speed limit and not ten miles per hour over, you wouldn't need to worry about the timing of a yellow light. You drive on US-41, do the speed limit and even if the yellow light lasted for a second, you would have ample time in which to stop your vehicle. So stop your whining, obey the laws of the road. But don't come crying to me if you get a ticket. If you get one, you 'deserve' it. Remember, the very next life you save by not running a red light, could be someone's child, parent, grand-parent.
Hawkeye June 03, 2013 at 05:05 PM
Charles; Red means 'STOP' period. No grey area, no if ands or buts. Charles, if one drove the speed limit and not ten miles per hour over, you wouldn't need to worry about the timing of a yellow light. You drive on US-41, do the speed limit and even if the yellow light lasted for a second, you would have ample time in which to stop your vehicle. So stop your whining, obey the laws of the road. But don't come crying to me if you get a ticket. If you get one, you 'deserve' it. Remember, the very next life you save by not running a red light, could be someone's child, parent, grand-parent.
Hawkeye June 03, 2013 at 05:05 PM
Charles; Red means 'STOP' period. No grey area, no if ands or buts. Charles, if one drove the speed limit and not ten miles per hour over, you wouldn't need to worry about the timing of a yellow light. You drive on US-41, do the speed limit and even if the yellow light lasted for a second, you would have ample time in which to stop your vehicle. So stop your whining, obey the laws of the road. But don't come crying to me if you get a ticket. If you get one, you 'deserve' it. Remember, the very next life you save by not running a red light, could be someone's child, parent, grand-parent.
Hawkeye June 03, 2013 at 05:06 PM
Charles; Red means 'STOP' period. No grey area, no if ands or buts. Charles, if one drove the speed limit and not ten miles per hour over, you wouldn't need to worry about the timing of a yellow light. You drive on US-41, do the speed limit and even if the yellow light lasted for a second, you would have ample time in which to stop your vehicle. So stop your whining, obey the laws of the road. But don't come crying to me if you get a ticket. If you get one, you 'deserve' it. Remember, the very next life you save by not running a red light, could be someone's child, parent, grand-parent.
Charlesworth Longtooth III June 03, 2013 at 05:06 PM
So you are anti-gun I suppose? Given the facts about how many are killed by guns each year your logic dictates this. Am I correct or are you on the NRA's payroll as well? Get back to me when you actually have something to say that's based in reality and not one case that happens to be very publicized by ATS and other red-light scam operators.
Hawkeye June 03, 2013 at 05:06 PM
Andy, excellent post
Hawkeye June 03, 2013 at 05:18 PM
Charlesworth Longtooth III You are a sick person and need help. Your last reply does not even warrant a response. I'd seek help and you work in an Emergency Room?! You need help pal.
NEVETS June 03, 2013 at 08:07 PM
NEVETS Learned and still use the Handbook from Roll Royce UK. I am going to try to inject some sense into drivers who really do not understand the message that Traffic lights signals really mean. Why? (Probably the way they were taut). BUT: The amber/Yellow light gives the order to STOP, (unless by doing so, will cause an accident inside or behind your vehicle). It does not mean that you should Accelerate until it turns RED. The RED light means that you must stay until the light changes to GREEN. SO: YELLOW means STOP. RED means Stay. GREEN means GO. For those who are turning LEFT at the crossing, only One vehicle should be waiting in the left Lane, unless it is obviously safe for Two. This prevents the blocking of the traffic at the intersection when the Lights have changed and/or you now have the RED light against you. By using these instructions, there should never again be a serious accident, we would not need to put-up with Cameras or Accidents. (Short of Jay Walkers) I have to smile, and yet be annoyed when I see Cars that have this sign on the back bumper: “I STOP ON RED”. Well! Whoop-de-doop. An accident ready to happen.
Hawkeye June 04, 2013 at 01:24 AM
NEVETS; Out of the 40+ comments posted to this blog, I truthfully respect yours the most. No worries NEVETS, you're going to get some negative responses, mostly from whiners at how the state purposely manipulated the timing of the yellow lights because believe me, most drivers really believe that yellow means to hurry the hell up and drive through the light. Then if the light changes to red and they are ticketed, they'll blame the timing of the light. Had they driven the speed limit, when the light turns yellow, they'd have ample time to stop. Red means STOP, it's as simple as that.
Hawkeye June 04, 2013 at 01:27 AM
The main reason most red light runners are not ticketed, is because it takes a police officer or a Sheriff Deputy approximately five pages of paper-work to file for each red-light runner. Can you imagine for every five red-light running ticket's issued the officer or deputy would need to fill out 50 pages of reports. Hell no! Let's ticket a tourist with a native parrot on his shoulder at the beach.
Charlesworth Longtooth III June 04, 2013 at 06:15 AM
Glad you think so. Larry, of course you won't "dignify" my assertion that you work for ATS because to do so would violate your company's policy regarding your online activities. ATS has had to fire a vice-president for misrepresenting himself as a "concerned" citizen. Listen here to the President of ATS http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=viKQQIShquY&lc=k1IIixQKbZsP0x574crOevWtRKRvs8XC7g4qoBKfP3s And larry, you have no clue what a LEO has to do to ticket a red-light runner. They have had printers in the cars for years now and they can swipe a license and spit one out in under 2 minutes only having to sign their name so don't pretend you have a clue. Larry, you don't live anywhere near here so I doubt you show up in my ER. I would probably be a little too busy treating patients that are victims of texting while driving or DUI's, something you and ATS have yet to find a way to profit from. Running red-lights can lead to very serious accidents, but to scam the people out of cash and presume them to be guilty is not only unconstitutional, its pathetic. You know as well as anyone that if property tax revenues hadn't sank then ATS wouldn't have sunk their slimy claws into this state. Go on, stick to your script and say what you've been saying. Most of us have seen the data, and the fact that ATS is getting their rear-ends booted out of jurisdictions left and right is only proof positive that they've seen the light. Won't be too long until you are looking for work,"pal".
Wyatt Fletcher June 04, 2013 at 08:52 PM
Regarding the legitimacy of these red light tickets, a friend just got one for doing a right-on-red. This should not be ticketable especially since FL Statutes 316.0083 says: "A notice of violation and a traffic citation MAY NOT BE ISSUED for failure to stop at a red light if the driver is making a right-hand turn in a careful and prudent manner at an intersection where right-hand turns are permissible". THIS MEANS THAT PROCEEDING WITH A SAFELY EXECUTED RIGHT-HAND TURN WITHOUT STOPPING FOR A RED LIGHT IS PERMISSiBLE BY STATE LAW. Since a camera is incapable of making a judgement call regarding the relative care and prudence a driver was executing while making the turn, and that the camera is not able to provide a full contextual analysis for review, the ticket should be wholly invalid. But because the system is designed as "guilty until proven innocent" and because the financial penalty structure is such that at the whim of a person (a judge) making a decision without witnesses or even proper evidence that there is a risk of the cost of the ticket to leap from the base $158 to $450 if my friend were to contest it. Given the ratio of risk to penalty, questionable motivations (revenue generation) of the enforcement system, and the time involved in dealing with it, the system has successfully put him in the position of paying without contesting despite the injustice of the ticket. (BTW, no one got hurt when he turned right on red... imagine that!)
Victor Orloff February 19, 2014 at 07:10 PM
Red light traffic cam is a Scam. Re-timed to rob drivers only.

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