Hundreds of red-light cameras are installed at intersections across South Florida, snapping pictures of vehicles running red lights. Whether you love them or hate them, city officials hope they’ll increase awareness and cut down on accidents.
Red-light camera citations cost $158 per-ticket to drivers, but the violation doesn’t affect driving records. But ignoring a red-light ticket can be costly: ticket fees usually double and could turn into a driving offense.
Stephanie Pierre, of North Miami, has received seven red-light camera citations over the past five years.
"I truly hate them because they’re causing me to pay extra bills that I was not expecting in a one month time frame,” Pierre said.
As part of NBC 6's “Beat the Streets,” the NBC6 Investigators hit the road and traveled through the cities of Miami, Miami Beach, Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale to find out which cameras snapped the most tickets over the past two years.
Here’s the top 6 list of intersections:
1. Hollywood: Hollywood Boulevard and State Road 7 - 21,949 citations
2. Miami: Bird Avenue and S. Dixie Highway – 13,043 citations
3. Fort Lauderdale: West Sunrise Boulevard and NW 15th Avenue – 10,564 citations
4. Miami Beach: Dade Boulevard and Washington Avenue – 9,609 citations
5. Hollywood: State Highway 824 and Pembroke Road Near 95 – 9,407 citations
6. Miami: NE 79th and NE 10th Avenue – 7,801 citations
The amount of revenue generated from the six cameras over the past two years is approximately $11,434,934.
The following map was built using red-light camera performance reports from the cities of Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, and Miami to find out the intersections with most citations for the years of 2012-2014. Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood had the busiest red-light camera intersection with a total of 21,949 citations issued from 2012-2014. Click on each dart to find information about the number of citation for each intersection and the money collected in fines. -Map built by Mc Nelly Torres
Removing, Suspending Camera Programs
Hollywood drivers would be pleased to hear the City of Hollywood won’t be on the Top 6 list for long. The city’s contract with American Traffic Solutions, an Arizona-based company, expired in October. After much debate, city officials will not renew the contract, and this means red-light cameras will no longer be active within city limits.
Attorney Ted Hollander challenged a red-light camera ticket against the City of Hollywood and won the case. A judge ruled the private camera company was doing too much of the work that should’ve been done by law enforcement officials by screening the citations. The ruling on Hollander’s case is currently going through the appeals process and it could ultimately affect other cities.
“It’s a highly contested issue because people don’t think they’re fair,” said Hollander, who represented a man on this particular case. “The police departments were delegating their police power to this private company in Arizona that was doing too much of the work.”
While red-light cameras are still up and snapping pictures in Fort Lauderdale, they are not issuing citations. City officials decided to temporarily suspend the program until the court system decides the legality of the program.
A statewide report issued by Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles last year showed the most drivers didn’t challenge the citation and paid the $158 fine. If a driver chooses to contest the violation, they have to fight it in court.
Do Red-Light Cameras Cut Down on Accidents?
While some believe the citations create awareness and has an effect on the number of accidents, others worry they cause knee jerk reactions.
The report, however, shows mixed results when it comes to whether the cameras cut down on accidents. In Fort Lauderdale, for example, side swipes went down at red light intersections by 47 percent one year before the cameras went up, compared to one year after. However, the same study shows rear end collisions went up by 144 percent during the same time period.
** Information provided by cities for accidents that occurred one year before the cameras were installed, compared to one year after installation