The city of Orlando took steps in March 2007 to install red light cameras at specific intersections. The decision was finalized when Orlando city commissioners made the decision regarding the red light camera distributor.
Red light cameras are intended to decrease the number of auto accidents at intersections. When a car runs a red light, a picture is taken and the owner of the car is mailed a fine of more than a hundred dollars. The desired result is a decrease in deadly auto accidents that result when drivers run red lights.
The cameras are only installed at the most dangerous intersections with the highest rate of accidents.
Orlando City Council
The Orlando city council voted to move forward with the red light camera installation regardless of the outcome of the Florida State Legislature deliberation. Despite their decision to move forward, installation of the red light cameras will not take place until a final decision has been made by the Florida State Legislature.
Orlando taxpayers will be charged $500,000 a year for operation of the red light cameras. The installation firm told the Orlando city commissioners that they would drop the operation fee if the cameras do not generate city revenue.
Criticism of Red Light Cameras
Those who criticize the red light cameras say that the cameras become a focus of revenue for cities and that the commissioners may lose site of the overall purpose of the cameras, which is to save lives by preventing auto accidents.
The concern of the overall intention of the red light installation is in addition to concerns regarding invasion of privacy and the question of the actual effectiveness of the cameras in preventing auto accidents.
Red Light Cameras May Not Save Lives
A study conducted by the University of South Florida claims that red light cameras actually lead to an increase in the number of collisions. This is because drivers stop their cars abruptly in order to avoid running a red light. The abrupt stops increases the risk for serious injuries in rear-end collisions.
A professor and chair of Health Policy and Management at the USF College of Public Health states that the cameras could potentially cause adverse driving conditions due to the state’s high population of elderly drivers, who are at a higher risk for serious injury during an auto accident.
Orlando City Commissions Final Decision
Despite the University of South Florida study, the Orlando city commissioners believe that the red light cameras will save lives. By giving a steep fine of over one hundred dollars, the city commissioners hope to deter drivers from behavior that may result in auto accidents.