Red-light camera intersections: In the name of safety or revenue?

05/27/2010 // WPB, FL, USA // Nicole Howley // Nicole Howley

West Palm Beach, FL—A heated debate is growing in West Palm Beach on whether the red-light cameras installed at three city intersections are there to actually boost safety or as a revenue generator. While rear-end collisions have more than doubled since the cameras were installed, fines worth a third of a million dollars were generated in the month of March alone, as reported by The Palm Beach Post.

Traffic records revealed that rear-end collisions jumped to over double the amount in the first 70 days of the red-light cameras implementation, when compared to the same time span in 2009.

The three city intersections with red-light cameras are: Australian Avenue at Banyan Boulevard, Belvedere Road at Parker Avenue, and Summit Boulevard at Parker.

A review by the Palm Beach Post from when the fines began on Feb. 21 through May 1., at the three intersections with the cameras found:

• Rear-end collisions increased to five from two. Rear-end accidents sometimes go up with cameras because anxious drivers are more likely to stop abruptly.

• Overall accidents increased to seven from six

• The only injury in either period came under cameras, in a rear-end crash in March 2010. The injury was “non-incapacitating,” according to records supplied by cities and compiled in Palm Beach County’s accident database.

Advocates of the law contends that the ”whole point was to increase safety-and there was no time to loose.” But Kevin Bakewell, AAA vice president in Tampa stated, “It’s more about the money than it is traffic safety.”

In the month of March, which was the first full month of fines, 1,337.5 citations were issued.

On July 1., the state law takes effect which increases the fines from $158 to $125. The fines are mailed to car owners.

Legal News Reporter: Nicole Howley-Legal news for Florida government lawyers.

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