If you ever got a red-light camera ticket, I know you’re ticked. Stop reading this right now, call up the mayor, and tell him to stop this madness on Miami Beach! Here’s the number for Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber: 305-673-7030.
Despite the fact that so many other cities across South Florida have dropped them, this terrible system of red-light cameras that’s still in place in Miami Beach simply has to go. That’s according to Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez, and I absolutely agree. Miami-Dade County doesn’t have them anymore. The City of Miami won’t have them soon anymore. In fact, municipalities all across the country are getting rid of red-light cameras.
And why? As Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez aptly points out, the fines are expensive, the camera operators are more worried about getting their cut than they are about safety, and the high prices punish the working class and people on fixed incomes.
What’s more, red light cameras don’t discourage accidents. In fact, a study by the Chicago Tribune showed that the presence of the red-light cameras actually increases accidents at some intersections. Despite the claims of companies that sell ticket cameras and provide related services, there is no independent verification that photo enforcement devices improve highway safety, reduce overall accidents, or improve traffic flow.
And yet, as expensive as the fines are, Miami Beach and other cities realize very little from red light cameras. It’s definitely a boon for the vendor. But a bad deal for the municipalities. That’s why Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez is putting an item on the Miami Beach Commission Agenda on Jan. 17 to end the month-to-month arrangement the city has with its vendor. And I totally support this move.
Ticket cameras do not improve safety, ticket recipients are not adequately notified, and there is no certifiable witness to the alleged violation. Without an “accuser” for motorists to confront, which is a constitutional right, there is no one who can personally testify to the circumstances of the alleged violation – and just because a camera unit was operating
properly when it was set up does not mean it was operating properly when the picture was taken of any given vehicle.
The whole system is fraught with problems and frankly seems to be designed as a major inconvenience motorists, many of whom cannot afford the $157 base fee or nearly twice that if they try to fight it in court.
So, make that call to the Mayor or send him an email – now – to tell him to ban red light cameras on the Beach.
Contact him at DanGelber@miamibeachfl.gov or call 305-673-7030 during (regular business hours).