If you’re traveling north on 56th Street and run the red lights at Riverhills Drive, Bullard Parkway or Fowler Avenue, say “cheese.”
Beginning Sept. 1, the northbound traffic lights at these three intersections will have active red-light safety cameras.
“The cameras will operate 24 hours a day, taking photographs and videos of red-light runners,” said Mike Dunn, the city’s public information officer, via a press release. “Warning signs will be placed at those locations to alert motorists to the cameras.”
The three new cameras will give the city a total of five red-light cameras. The two current cameras are located westbound on Bullard Avenue at 56th Street and southbound on 56th Street at Fowler Avenue.
“The city’s traffic-safety camera program has been in effect since October 2008 and has recorded more than 26,000 violations, said Deputy Chief Bernie Seeley of the ,” the press release states. “The program is intended to protect motorists, passengers, cyclists and pedestrians from crashes caused by red-light runners, he said.”
The city will have a warning period at the new camera locations from Sept. 1-30, according to the release. During that time, a violator will be mailed a courtesy warning notice in lieu of a citation. The warning notice will be issued to the vehicle’s registered owner. At the conclusion of the warning period, citations will be issued. The fine for a first offense is $158.
Temple Terrace’s red-light traffic camera program is administered by American Traffic Solutions Inc., Dunn said. Each violation is reviewed and approved by the Temple Terrace Police Department before the registered owner of the vehicle is issued a citation.
The City of Temple Terrace is one of more than 70 communities in Florida and 500 nationwide that use the hotly contested cameras to enhance highway safety.
Tampa, St. Petersburg and Oldsmar voted to install red-light cameras earlier this year.
Hillsborough County operates red-light cameras at six intersections. Between Jan. 1, 2010 and Feb. 28, 2011, the sheriff's office issued 33,966 red-light citations. The intersection with the most citations issued was Bruce B. Downs Boulevard and Fletcher Avenue, which had 9,070 citations, or 26.7 percent.
Other Hillsborough County intersections with red-light cameras include:
- Waters Avenue and Dale Mabry Highway in Carrollwood, which had 7,625 citations
- Brandon Town Center Drive and Brandon Boulevard in Brandon, which had 7,589 citations
- Waters Avenue and Anderson Road in Town N’ Country, which had 6,110 citations
- Bell Shoals Road and Bloomingdale Avenue in Brandon, which had 2,830 citations
- Sligh Avenue and Habana Avenue in Egypt Lake-Leto, which had 742 citations
“Red light runners are a danger to others as well as themselves,” the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office typically comments when it posts videos it has captured of red-light runners. “Aggressive, impatient or inattentive motorists who run a red light can be detected at certain intersections in unincorporated Hillsborough County.”
According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, 113,000 people were injured and 676 people were killed in 2009 in red-light running crashes. That year, 62 Floridians lost their lives, making Florida the third most deadly state for red-light running crashes.
However, some motorists say they think that red-light cameras are an abuse of local and state governments’ power. A website called Ban the Cams is a self-described grass roots organization that aims to “restore freedom and sanity to our roadways.” They had a protest at the intersection of Bullard Parkway and 56th Street last year.
A story titled , which was posted on Temple Terrace Patch on June 16, received several comments for and against red-light cameras.
“I definitely am in favor of keeping the cameras,” said reader . “Those opposed are most likely the ones that fear getting ticketed because they are the offenders of red-light running.”
Another reader disagreed.
“Of course stopping at red lights is a good thing,” said , “but I would rather help drivers(and safety) by lengthening the yellow light time and truly making intersections safer, instead of punishing normally safe driver for technical fouls like rolling over the stop line before coming to a complete stop, or making a right turn on red, and making everyone paranoid about running afoul of the eyes in the sky.”