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Does Tampa Still Use Red Light Cameras?

Other than a few people at Tampa City Hall, it’s hard to find anybody else who lives in the city that likes red light cameras. They’re beyond controversial, and tickets issued for alleged red light violations aren’t cheap either. They can cost you $158 with no points on your license if you make a timely payment. However, they will cost $262 with points added to your license if you pay late. Floridians first started seeing red light cameras in 2010, and they’ve proliferated across the state. Tampa has them positioned at about 54 locations now.

Florida House Bill 6003 is presently pending in the Senate. Its proponents want to ban red-light cameras across the state. The cameras are in about 50 Florida communities now. Bill 6003 passed overwhelmingly in committee. An opponent of the cameras has remarked Florida municipalities have become addicted to the revenue that red light cameras produce.

One company that manufactures and operates the cameras has retained 26 lobbyists. They do not want the cameras discontinued or the revenue generated from them. Proponents of the cameras rely on public safety grounds. In fact, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FDHSMC) says that the cameras resulted in a five percent decrease involving drivers running a red light.

Opponents argue that proponents are using red light cameras to support the FDHSMC’s numbers and disregarding the unfavorable data. They also argue camera controlled intersections have a shortened time frame for yellow lights. Opponents also maintain that the cameras are a violation of a person’s 6th Amendment right to confront witnesses against them. It’s impossible to cross-examine a camera.

Even if a police officer testified on behalf of the prosecution in a red light camera case; he or she could only testify to the fact that such a camera is in place at a certain intersection. Any testimony about a specific driver, installation of the cameras, functionality or maintenance are based on speculation and hearsay. The cameras also have a highly limited field of recording. They don’t show their own errors or traffic conditions on their sides or ahead of them. Consequently, that might explain an alleged violation or a defense of necessity.

Previous attempts at legislatively discontinuing red light cameras have failed in Florida’s Senate. The lawmakers who voted against discontinuing the cameras maintained that it is less expensive to rely on the red light cameras than to have police officers patrolling problematic intersections. It’s likely far more profitable too. A House staff analysis has estimated that local participating governments who discontinue the cameras could see an estimated $80 million loss in revenue per year.

Contact Tampa’s Traffic Ticket Lawyer, RHINO Lawyers

Lastly, if you received this type of ticket, contact the RHINO Lawyers. We are a tough, thick-skinned law firm offering a robust approach to traffic ticket defense and all Florida driver’s license issues. Our criminal defense team knows the importance of keeping you in the driver’s seat with a clean driving record. Moving violations can easily result in dramatically increased automobile insurance rates, substantial fines, and even driver’s license suspension. Disputing your citation is your only chance of getting it dismissed, even if you think you are “guilty.”

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