Repeal FL Unconstitutional Red Light Cameras
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This petition is directed towards the 2018 Florida Senate that will be addressing SB 176, which is intended to repeal the use of red light cameras.
In 2010, American Traffic Solutions (ATS), and other private companies that produce red light cameras and other traffic enforcement products successfully lobbied Florida legislators to pass SB 2166 and 294, signing Florida State Statute 316.0083 into law enabling the use of automated cameras to capture "violations" of registered vehicle owners running red lights.
Over the last 7 years, millions of dollars of revenue have been generated for private companies, as well as municipalities under the guise of "public safety". An already overburdened criminal justice system is now being tasked with the handling of thousands of extra red light violations annually.
No data exists to show that red light cameras directly enhance public safety, in fact, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has made claims, along with studies from the National Motorists Association, University of South Florida, and the United States Public Interest Research Group that red light cameras lead to an increase of citations and crashes.
Why this matters
No one is advocating to run red lights. However, the automated use of cameras to declare someone in violation of the law without having proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the person was operating the vehicle is unconstitutional.
Coffin v United States (1895) established that persons accused of a crime are innocent until proven guilty. This pillar of our justice system, was derived from the 5th, 6th, and 14th amendments of the US Constitution.
It is the role of the state to prove that you were operating the motor vehicle that committed the violation, not merely assume it based on the identity of the registered owner.
With an automated red light camera, the vehicle in question is videoed and photographed in the intersection stated on the notice of violation. The photograph and video are analyzed by civilian at a private company and then sent to the law enforcement agency for validation. Whether the driver is the registered owner or not, he or she is never actually seen in control of the vehicle in these pictures or videos.
It can be argued that the fines assessed with this are not intended to be punitive to curb running red lights, just simply a way for companies and municipalities to generate extra revenue.
In a time where technology affects every aspect of our life, these advancements must remain scrutinized and measured, just as our government model relies on checks and balances. Modern law enforcement must not exceed its reach or authority, especially for an intention as trivial as generating funds.
What you can do
Red light camera repeal has gained momentum over the last few years. Bills have been introduced in the FL House of Representatives before dying in the Senate.
This session HB 6001 (introduced by Representatives Bryan Avila and Blaise Ingoglia) has passed as a result of legislators paying attention to the demands and wishes of the constituents that elected them. The bill has passed 83-18 and is on to the Senate.
This is where the push for repeal must come strongest from the public. As John F. Kennedy stated in 1963, "The rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened."
-Sign the petition. Share the petition.
-Contact your representatives. The more you educate yourself and participate, the smoother the greatest model of government in the history of humans will work.
Your US Senators representing Florida:
Bill Nelson: https://www.billnelson.senate.gov/contact-bill
Your local Florida senators and representatives can be found here:https://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/Find
The Florida Senate Committee on Transportation: https://www.flsenate.gov/Committees/Show/TR
Contact and support the American Civil Liberties Union: www.aclu.org (212)549-2500
Thank you for taking the time to read this petition. I have attempted to research and summarize an issue that is plaguing almost 700 communities across the country.
A couple other great resources I used were:
- https://marylandpirg.org/ sites/pirg/files/reports/ Caution-Red-Light-Cameras- Ahead-.pdf
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