Red-light cameras the way to stop cheating husbands and pot-smoking kids?by Dara Kam | October 17th, 2011
An update on red-light cameras in the Senate Transportation Committee gave lawmakers the opportunity to vent some concerns about the traffic devices.
Sen. Larcenia Bullard related a tale of one of her constituents’ sons who was caught by a red-light camera while toting some of his pot-smoking pals. Police used the tape showing his back-seat buddies getting high to charge the teenager with a drug offense instead of a traffic infraction, said Bullard, whose district includes part of Palm Beach County.
Bullard said the cameras should take photos limited in size to the trunk of the car and not include the window of the vehicle. That way officers – and others – can’t peek at what’s going on inside, she said.
“A man is sitting in the back seat with a woman who he’s not married to and his wife,” Bullard, D-Miami, said, drawing snickers from her committee colleagues. “But it’s very true. This is real. This stuff happens. I see where this camera is really working but we need to get beyond taking pictures of that back window where you can see someone cheating on his wife or someone smoking marijuana.”
Sen. Ronda Storms questioned whether local traffic engineers are timing the amber lights properly so drivers have long enough to drive through the intersection without getting a ticket. Good traffic safety rules require that the amber light give drivers time to make it from the solid white line through the intersection traveling at the speed limit before the light turns red, Storms said.
Storms, R-Valrico, said she’s worried that the traffic engineers aren’t giving drivers enough time on the amber because cities are making money on the red-light runners.
“I’m really concerned about the abuse of power,” Storms said.