Mayor Gelber, it’s time to stop red-light cameras

Grant Miller, Publisher
Grant Miller, Publisher

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.

Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez
Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez

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

Mayor Dan Gelber
Mayor Dan Gelber

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 or call 305-673-7030 during (regular business hours).

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  1. Please keep the red light cameras. Lived here 5 years and never got a ticket (apparently I understand red means stop)
    Also, the city should add automatic speed enforcement cameras in school zones.

    • Apparently you’ve never been caught in traffic at an intersection without being able to move cause a fire truck was holding up traffic and gotten a ticket. Those cameras are BS and are unconstitutional. They need to be serviced and calibrated just like a radar which I’m sure they are not. See ya!

  2. Grant,
    Have you ever seen the actual statistics for Miami Beach? I have. And the reduction of traffic accidents/incidents is significant.
    Do you have children who attend schools on the beach where red light cameras are located? I do. And, am grateful to have an additional measure to cause people to obey the traffic rules.
    While my first reaction to the red light cameras was negative, I have since come to appreciate them for the right reasons. The facts speak for themselves.
    Before writing this opinion, get the facts. It’s not a money maker, its a lives saver.

  3. I got a ticket. I did run the red light just after it changed so I deserved it. The argument that there is no witness is pretty weak. You are essentially being recorded and that is sufficient evidence. The picture clearly shows you running a red light (the light is in the picture). The technology is sound, unfortunately. Regarding the motivation of the camera providers to make money: that’s stating the obvious. It’s not an argument against the cameras. Regarding cameras not reducing accidents or improving traffic flow: I wouldn’t expect them to. If that’s a concern for the city, we should be looking at solutions to the traffic, not blaming some benign technology. The cameras are there to help automate law enforcement to relieve the load on cops. I’d rather have cops look for bad guys than spend time parked at an intersection.

  4. Red light cameras are a deterrent and if you don’t want to get a ticket, do not run a red light. Simple as that. And the life you save might be yours. If only someone could get bicycle riders to obey traffic laws, that might save even more lives, including theirs.

  5. As long as we are banning red light cameras I recommend that we also ban red lights and stop signs. Even Yield signs are annoying and I won’t even begin to describe how speed limits intrude on my driving rights! Grant and Kristen are correct! Lets end all this big government interference!

  6. Red light cameras are for-profit rackets that should be illegal in every state, as they are in some already. Note that the Florida Department of Transportation has rules that in most cases prohibit the cities from setting yellow intervals long enough for the actual approach speeds of at least 85% of the vehicles. The rules were different before July 2011, it was absolutely mandatory to set yellow intervals long enough for at least 85% of the vehicles. Today that safer method is not allowed at all. WHY? That is easy, it is because the state rakes off the first $83 of each $158 ticket – without paying a penny of the high camera costs. The state takes in $50 to $60 million a year from this racket, at no risk. This is a racket, not a safety program.

    Florida residents need to call and write their state Representatives, Senators, and the Governor to politely insist they support Senate Bill 176 and House Bill 6001 to ban the cameras and end this predatory money-grab racket. Contact information:

    James C. Walker, Life Member – National Motorists Association

  7. I am sorry if you turn to the right and the light is yellow and turns into
    Red you are fined, because they tell you did not stop . The Cameras are a money laundering for the Politicians.

  8. I am sorry and I have never commented on this and you took my commentaries out.

    The Community Newspaper is a Democrat Political machine, you did not like
    my commentaries.

    Shame on you

    • All of our comments are run through a spam filter. Thank you very much for bringing it to our attention. Your original comment is now posted. Thank you very much.

  9. I get trap at the intersection because of the trafic,then the light change and I was Charging for running the red light at 15 MILES PER HOUR SPEED…that was ridiculous !!!

  10. Running red lights sure doesn’t help anyone, but people keep doing it. Hitting them in the pocketbook is a lot better than a collision. Grant, you are wrong on this one. I still see the flash as people run the light at Red Road and US 1, quite near your office. Clearly, the behavior modification needs to continue, at least for now.

  11. Miami drivers are the worst. They don’t obey intersection courtesy way, red lights, etc. Keep the tickets and obey the law!!

  12. Red light cameras. Can we add stop sign cameras? And maybe start ticketing bicycles and pedestrians as well? I have never seen the chaos of traffic on South Beach, where everyone seems to think that traffic signals are just a suggestion. For someone to say these cameras are illegal is silly; that is like saying it is only a crime if someone sees it. Or the crashing tree in the forest only makes a sound if someone is there to hear it.

  13. So true about those that have never been ticketed unjustly. I received a ticket because there was an ambulance that came out of a driveway and blocked my view of the turning light to red. The video just shows me taking the red light and clearly shows the ambulance passing me….this was an unjust ticket but would be more expensive to go and fight in court….

  14. Those posting pro RLC’s are completely ignoring the fact that *too many* law abiding drivers are *unjustly* ticketed and THAT is why they need to go. RLC can’t understand that you may be in a particular traffic situation and that you need to move or turn off the road to avoid an accident or for an emergency vehicle etc. Similar to others oposting above, I was ticketed for moving out of the way, not running a red light. A camera system is okay, but automatically ticketing with no recourse is very bad, and the profit element makes it worse. I’m all about the safety, running a red light is horrible, Florida drivers are horrible. People disobey the laws and road safety, and accident prevention, etc. They deserve to be ticketed, but the fact remains that MANY people who are none of those risks are unjustly ticketed.


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