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First Hand Experiences
"I'm for it. Bottom line you shouldnt be running red lights and the accidents won't happen plain and simple there is no excuse why you should run a red light."
- Susan G
"I am for red light cameras. Having had an accident with someone that ran a red light. I don't think the fines are stiff enough. The people that are against it are the ones that are running lights."
- Daniel T
"If you are obeying the law, you won't cause an accident. It's really that simple and it's a sad fact that these cameras are necesary to keep drivers honest."
- Mark W
"I am so sick and tired of seeing people speed up to run red lights, simply slowing down for stop signs, etc... Doing the best you can to obey the law and driving defensively needs to be returned to drivers daily habits."
- Jane R
"If you are a good driver you have nothing to worry about. Let the bad drivers flip the bill."
- Michael B

Facts and Statistics
Miami
Many communities are seeking lower auto insurance premiums after seeing up to 60 percent reductions in intersection crashes after installing red light cameras.
Source: The Miami Herald
Aventura
In Aventura, crashes have fallen by 200, which is about a 15 percent decline in the first two years of implementing a red light camera program.
Source: The Miami Herald
Nationwide
The FHWA reports that communities with camera programs are experiencing a reduction in red-light running violations ranging from 20-87 percent.
Tampa Bay
In Tampa Bay, one pedestrian is injured every seven hours.
Source: SeeTheBlindspots.org
Fact:
Red light cameras were listed as one of the seven safety measures that can cut traffic deaths significantly, but have not been widely implemented by every state.
Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
Nationwide
Intersection crashes account for more than 45 percent of all reported crashes and 21 percent of fatalities.
Source: National Safety Commission
Nationwide
In 2010, 829 people were killed in intersection crashes in Florida.
Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 2011
Florida
Florida is the 3rd most deadly state in the nation for red-light running crashes.
Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Temple Terrace
Traffic violations have dropped by 67 percent in the two years since Temple Terrace began its red-light camera program.
Source: City of Temple Terrace
Orlando
Red-light cameras in Orlando have reduced crashes nearly 40 percent.
Source: 2011 WFTV Orlando News Report
Fact:
In Miami Gardens, crashes have been reduced by 83 percent at the 12 intersections equipped with cameras.
Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinal.com
Apopka
In Apopka, Fla., 10 intersection cameras totaled more than 33,000 violations in Januarytheir first month. In February, the city had already seen a decrease in violations by 30 percent.
Source: Real World/Florida case study - Saving Lives and Families through Behavior Modification
Hillsborough County
From Jan. 2010 through Feb. 2011, red-light cameras captured nearly 34,000 red-light violations at the six Hillsborough intersections.
Source: Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office
Brandon
On average, 17 motorists per day run a red light at the Brandon Town Center Drive and Brandon Boulevard intersection, making it the third most-dangerous crossroad in the county.
Source: Real World/Florida case study - Saving Lives and Families through Behavior Modification
Nationwide:
40 percent of all crashes are intersection-related.
Source: Federal Highway Administration
Fact:
You are 150 percent more likely to be injured or killed at an intersection due to a red-light violation than due to any other driving situation.
Source: Federal Highway Administration
Nationwide:
Red-light running causes more than 180,000 crashes a year, resulting in more than 1,000 deaths and 90,000 injuries.
Source: Federal Highway Administration
Florida
Florida is the 3rd most deadly state in the nation for red-light running crashes.
Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Nationwide:
A red-light is run every 20 minutes.
Source: Institute for Highway Safety
Florida
Eleven of the 25 most dangerous metro areas for pedestrians are in Florida.
Source: SeeTheBlindspots.org
Florida
According to a 2011 news report by WFTV Orlando, red-light cameras in Orlando have reduced crashes nearly 40 percent.
Florida
Traffic violations have dropped by 67 percent in the two years since Temple Terrace began its red-light camera program.
Source: City of Temple Terrace
Florida
The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office has seen an overall reduction in crashes with injuries at the 10 intersections where the cameras were placed last year
Florida
According to the North Miami Police Department, red-light cameras have reduced the city’s traffic accidents by 60 percent and therefore it has also reduced fatalities.

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TBO

Opinion
Columnist: Cost of red-light cameras minor compared to lives

KatieElizabeth

TOM JACKSON

Katie Jackson was 11 when she died in a traffic accident. Her sister, Elizabeth, was 7, and suffered a brain injury.

By TOM JACKSON | The Tampa Tribune 
Published: August 08, 2012

As the father of young daughters whose lives were wrecked — one killed, one desperately brain-injured — by a driver found guilty, among other things, of having blown a red light, I concede being emotionally compromised on the issue of traffic-signal cameras.

But for a variety of reasons, the topic has come before us again. Four cameras in Oldsmar go live today. Clearwater's three-camera system began issuing fines Tuesday. Monday's Tampa Tribune reported Tampa-area red-light cameras have resulted in fewer crashes at monitored intersections, plus millions of dollars flowing into state and municipal treasuries.

And, perhaps not coincidentally, we are smack in the middle of the second annual National Stop on Red Week, one of those ubiquitous "awareness" campaigns sponsored by good-government coalitions hoping to change risky habits (smoking, overeating, neglecting cancer risks, flouting traffic laws) with a week of healthy behavior.

As it happens, in the Jackson household, Stop on Red Week could scarcely be timelier. Katie, 11 at the time of the crash that ended her life, would have turned 27 today. That's 16 empty, wrenching anniversaries playing the bereaved parent game, teasing out parallel-universe scenarios in which the collision is avoided and happy endings prevail.

* * * * *

The contributing factors were well-litigated and prominently reported. Juries, criminal and civil, delivered their verdicts. I will not rehearse the details here; you could Google the results.

Of course, as any member of the bereaved parent fraternity will tell you, no subsequent event interferes with the "what-if" game, whose permutations are inexhaustible. My own mental attempts to twist the timeline stretch to more than six years before the pivotal night: What if I'd kept my job at the Sacramento Bee rather than accept the Tribune's invitation to come home?

See how it works? It is a dismal pastime, but bereaved parents are powerless against it.

Nothing, aside from a breakthrough in time travel during my span of years, will alter what has gone before (and if that breakthrough happens, this column will end here). … OK, we go on.

As with others serving in the army of the emotionally wounded, I would prefer if future, similar life-taking collisions can be avoided. To that end, I say here's to the spread of camera systems monitoring even remotely problematic intersections.

* * * * *

We all know the complaints about cameras. These complaints are largely spurious. It's a Big Brother invasion of privacy. Nope. Your bedroom is private. Streets are public places.

Fines attach to vehicles, not drivers; suppose I lent my car to my cousin. Then your problem is with your cousin.

Fears of cameras makes drivers stop short, and rear-end crashes spike. Studies are inconclusive. Nonetheless, rear-end collisions are far less likely to maim or kill, and the repairs tend to be less expensive. Anyway, don't follow so closely.

Make yellow lights longer, and you can virtually end red-light running. Not according to studies reviewed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which found extending caution and all-red conditions was not nearly as effective as doing so in combination with traffic-signal cameras.

Cameras issuing fines? Where's my human accuser? Images are reviewed by law enforcement officers who determine whether a violation has occurred.

If red-light running is such a big deal, put more cops at troublesome intersections. Efficiency and cost-effectiveness stress the use of technology. Consider the interplanetary rover Curiosity, even now prowling the surface of Mars on our behalf. It would have been sexier to send astronauts, but even at $2.5 billion, Curiosity is extending the limits of human activity at a fraction of the cost.

Oddly, even as red-light cameras proliferate around us, including Port Richey and New Port Richey, introducing them into unincorporated Pasco County has not been a campaign issue in any of the lively county commission races. It's not too late. Not even having the conversation seems needlessly reckless.

Would the threat of a strategically located camera tirelessly issuing fat fines have altered the events that now define my family? Absolute certainty is elusive. But cameras are demonstrated to reduce broadside collisions substantially, which introduces, at minimum, a reasonable doubt about the ultimate outcome.

As I say, I am emotionally compromised. Still, applying the standard that is good enough for any jury, shouldn't we favor more, not less, reasonable doubt about the potential for catastrophe on our roadways?

Traffic-light cameras put potential scofflaws on alert. Violations will be costly.

But not, by any means, as costly as the alternative, as I am reminded every Aug. 8.

tjackson@tampatrib.com (813) 371-1851 https://www.facebook.com/TomJacksonTribune

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