Red light cameras have become more and more common across the United States, including many areas in West Palm Beach. These cameras automatically take a picture if a car does not clear an intersection before the stoplight turns red, and the registered owner receives a ticket in the mail. Currently, state law sets the fine for a red light ticket at $158.
Initially, victims’ families and law enforcement professionals advocated for red stoplight cameras in an attempt to reduce accidents on Florida roads. Now, a variety of studies and statistics question the efficacy of them.
Are Cameras About Accident Reduction – or Revenue?
Opponents of red light cameras in Florida bring up a difficult question: are these cameras really keeping the roads safe, or are they simply another source of revenue for local and state governments?
Regardless of the intention, there’s no doubt that these fines are a significant source of funding—of the $158 collected for a red light ticket, the state takes $83 and the local government gets $70. Richard Corcoran, the Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, has even hinted that it’s clear red light cameras are more about revenue than safety.
Red Light Cameras and Angle Accidents in Florida
When evaluating the effectiveness of red light cameras and accidents, it’s important to look at the statistics associated with angle accidents. Often known as T-bone or side crash impacts, angle accidents occur when the side of one vehicle is hit by the front of another vehicle. These crashes often occur when one vehicle runs a red light and collides with a vehicle that has just entered the intersection. Damage to vehicles and passenger injuries are often more severe in angle accidents than they are in other types of accidents. And research indicates that T-bone crashes have decreased at intersections with red light cameras.
An Increase in Non-Angle Accidents
While red light cameras are associated with a lower rate of angle accidents, they are also linked to an increase in non-angle accidents. Since drivers do not want to risk a red light ticket, they may brake suddenly to avoid entering the intersection when the light is yellow. As a result, the rate of rear-end accidents has increased since the introduction of red light cameras.
Advocates of red light cameras are quick to note that rear-end accidents are often much less severe than angle accidents, both in terms of vehicle damage and driver or passenger injury. Some law enforcement experts claim that a temporary increase in rear-end accidents is common after the introduction of red light cameras, and that accidents tend to decrease as local drivers get acclimated to stopping earlier.
Being involved in a car accident at a dangerous intersection can have lasting effects on your physical health, vehicle, and emotional wellbeing. It’s crucial to take care of yourself during this time. Let Fetterman & Associates handle the legal side of things by calling (561) 983-4771 to discuss the details of your accident, as well as how we can help.
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