There are two undisputed truths about traffic cameras: They work and drivers hate them. Some South Florida communities started using traffic cameras last year and already revenues have started pouring in. However, as these revenues from automatic tickets have risen so too has the ire among local drivers who are paying the tickets.
There are an assortment of automatic traffic cameras available to communities these days. Some just monitor traffic congestion and drivers speed as they cruise the roads. Others are stationed at intersections and automatically snap photos of license plates of vehicles who fail to yield, stop or observe the laws governing the intersection, then automatically issue a citation sent to the registered owner of the vehicle.
It’s the kind of mail nobody wants to receive and something South Florida drivers are learning to hate. Of course, given that revenues from these traffic citations are increasing it seems very unlikely these cameras are going away any time soon. No matter what drivers have to say about them.
Whatever you think of South Florida red-light cameras — lifesavers or revenue generators — there’s one part of the system that’s particularly galling. If you meekly accept the ticket that’s been mailed to you, you pay $158. But if you want to fight in court, you have no choice but to gamble and risk nearly doubling the fine — to $295 — if you lose.
“Inherently unfair, and total coercion,” said Fort Lauderdale attorney Jason Forman.
Suzanne Bohen, who works near a camera intersection in Boca Raton, agrees. Boca started its red-light program in April, and Bohen got a violation in the mail last month. Although she admits she rolled through a right turn without coming to a full stop, she says she did so in a “careful and prudent manner,” as allowed by the state law regulating red-light cameras.