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Red-Light and Speed Enforcement Cameras – Debated Pros and Cons

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Posted on August 23, 2013

Updated on October 12, 2013

With the increasing presence of red light cameras in Tampa and other south-central Florida cities, the controversy over these devices persists. Do these devices positively impact driver behavior and minimize car accidents in Tampa? Or are they nothing more than a tax and additional source of revenue for the city?  Arizona-based red light camera operator, American Traffic Solutions (ATS) has installed several hundred cameras throughout the sunshine state. ATS company workers believe that the cameras positively modify driver behavior and claim that nine out of ten drivers who have received a ticket for running a red light have not received a second. However, many drivers question the intended purpose of the cameras and believe they have been implemented simply to make money. Furthermore, some drivers believe it’s an ineffective attempt at traffic safety.

A similar argument exists regarding the same type of technology used in unmanned/automated speed enforcement cameras. Although automated speed enforcement cameras are not currently used by officials in the sunshine state, Florida is not among the 12 states that currently have laws banning these devices. Many traffic law advocates fear that they may be seen on Florida roads in the next few years.

Below is a list of Pros and Cons concerning the use of this technology as a form of traffic regulation.

Automated Red Light and Speed Enforcement Camera Pros:

  • Accident frequency, particularly T-bone or broadside collisions, is reduced at intersections with red light cameras.
  • Traffic law violations drop significantly in areas with red light or speed enforcement cameras.
  • Pedestrian fatalities have decreased at the majority of intersections with red light cameras.

Automated Red Light and Speed Enforcement Camera Cons:

  • Municipalities install enforcement cameras with a primary focus on budgetary revenues, rather than increased public safety.
  • Enforcement cameras offer greater financial benefit for out-of-state operators, like ATS, over that of local city and town governments.
  • Factoring in legal fees and salaries associated with enforcing camera violations, some municipalities have realized net revenue losses stemming from these system installations.

As Tampa personal injury attorneys who see the injuries and sometimes even loss of life associated with car accidents we feel any effort to enhance safety must be given careful consideration. With drivers today utilizing apps that warn about red light cameras there are fewer and fewer excuses for those who choose to endanger others by ignoring or speeding up to beat a red light. So, it seems these devices may both drive revenue and enhance safety in the community. Do you agree?


Governors’ Highway Safety Association –

The Daily Beast –