Florida local governments are trying to find new revenues as tax collections decline, but hopefully Tarpon Springs is not so desperate for cash that it will install red light cameras and issue expensive tickets to residents and visitors just to shore up the city budget.
During a recent City Commission budget session, Mayor Beverley Billiris suggested installing red light cameras to provide new revenue, saying, “There are cities making $15,000 a week off those things.” [...]
There are even broader concerns about red light cameras.
When it comes to safety, there is not universal agreement that the cameras reduce collisions… If the goal is to reduce intersection crashes, better results are obtained by lengthening the time the light stays yellow as well as building in a slightly longer pause before the cross street’s light turns green. [...]
Lawsuits have been filed against local governments because of such issues. Local governments in Florida are among those now fighting lawsuits — and incurring legal fees.
Perhaps the most troubling aspect of red light camera use is that local governments may become so dependent on the revenue that they are tempted to toy with traffic light timing to increase the flow of dollars. San Diego and Dallas were accused of shortening the yellow light cycle on traffic lights so more motorists would be caught running red lights. Such behavior belies the claim that the goal is to improve safety.