The Village Council approved the use of photo enforcement cameras in February. Officially known as “automated photo enforcement programs designed to detect and deter red-light running,” officials predict a 15-percent reduction in violations in the first six months after implementation of the program. Critics claim the cameras are little more than money generators for the municipalities that agree to use them.
Once the red-light cameras are installed in Pinecrest, the public will be notified and given a 30-day grace period before tickets are issued. The public also will be notified prior to red-light camera activation and citations will be issued after a 30-day warning period from the date of activation. The red-light cameras will be installed and maintained by Redflex Traffic Systems, a roadway safety technology firm with 200 municipal clients throughout North America. In Florida, the company manages similar camera programs in Jacksonville, Clearwater and Kissimmee, and has plans to implement one in South Miami.
“We’re very proud to be a partner in Pinecrest and South Miami’s roadway safety programs,” said Redflex president and CEO Jim Saunders. “Photo enforcement works and it saves lives by modifying driver behavior. Additionally, our technology serves as a force multiplier for local police departments, freeing up officers to refocus their energies on higher priority tasks.”
Saunders noted that a recent traffic study pinpointed five intersections along US1 that averaged 25 violations during a 12-hour period, with one intersection recording 50 violations. Each violation occurred after the traffic signal turned red and as a vehicle either passed straight through an intersection or turned left.
Saunders said that Pinecrest and South Miami will be the first municipalities in Miami-Dade County to utilize Redflex’s latest radar technology to detect violations with accuracy. He added that since the system relies on radar, road construction will not be necessary, further increasing costeffectiveness and decreasing roadway interruptions.
Redflex officials say the red-light cameras only capture data of a vehicle, including video and hi-resolution images, if it enters the intersection after the signal turns red. A Village police officer will review evidence of potential violations and will have sole discretion to determine if a citation is warranted. Drivers found in violation will receive a ticket in the mail. They can review images and video of their violations before paying or contesting the citation. The fine for running a red light in Florida is $158. As provided by state law, each municipality receives $75 of the fine amount.
What do you think? Are red-light cameras necessary or an invasion of privacy? We want your comments on this. Email me at grant@communitynewspapers. com.