Get Ready for Red Light Camera Tickets in St. Petersburg

By Barbara Ann Kelley, CBSTampa.com

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (CBS Tampa)  Starting Saturday October 15th  St. Petersburg drivers at certain stop lights will be able to wave at stop light cameras while red-light runners will get their pictures taken and a ticket in the mail.

Certain intersections in Pinellas County have had cameras attached to the signals. Red Light Cameras, as they are called, capture still images and video of red-light running drivers and their plates. These cameras are currently being used at many lights already in Tampa Bay. Now the City of St. Petersburg is installing even more.

The St Petersburg City transportation officials have launched a new public safety program called Stop on Red.  The city has posted warning signs alerting drivers that the red-light safety cameras have been installed.

Police say studies show that drivers tend to change their red light running habits with cameras watching them. Law enforcement like to think of the red light cameras as a form of behavior modification. Opponents say the cameras and the fines they generate, are a huge moneymaker for law enforcement agencies and doubt that they stop fatalities.

The Red-light cameras that will begin sending mailed tickets to red light runners are at these St. Petersburg  intersections:

4th Street and Gandy Boulevard
4th Street and 54th Avenue N
4th Street and 22nd Avenue N
6th Street and 5th Avenue N
34th Street and 38th Avenue N
34th Street and 1st Avenue N
34th Street and 1st Avenue S
34th Street and 22nd Avenue S
66th Street and 38th Avenue N
66th Street and Tyrone Boulevard

These intersections were chosen after a crash study identified these locations as high risk for accidents. Over the past three years the city has had 21 fatal crashes at stop lights, with 13 deaths related to red-light runners.

Starting September 15, drivers that were caught on tape running these signals received a mailed warning sent to the registered owner of the car. Now starting on Saturday October 15th citations by mail will be issued if someone runs these lights.

Running a red-light could set you back $158, and can increase to $264,or higher if paid late.

There are at least 30 Red light cameras mounted in Tampa Bay including, over twenty in Hillsborough county. Tampa will end its warning period and start issuing tickets on November 1.

Comments

One Comment

  1. I’ve seen studies that show that it would be better in terms of saving lives and stopping red light runners if cities would increase the time of the yellow light. Have you guys done any research into that?

    1. Barbara Ann says:

      I don’t think they can do that. Usually they hire company that counts the cars and truck going through each side of an intersection and then engineers use a formula to decide how long the light is. Not only that, they figure in the traffic flow at near by intersections too. If you make the yellows long you have to change the light times and intervals at all the lights in town because they all effect each other. I know this because I worked at worked at a Engineering company and got paid to sit at intersections and count cars with a machine.

      1. joedonnellan says:

        Privatized traffic law enforcement systems may or may not be a useful tool in keeping drivers and pedestrians safe. But when private firms and municipalities consider profits first, and safety second, the public interest is threatened. Before pursuing a camera system contract, local governments should heed the advice of the Federal Highway Administration and first investigate traffic engineering solutions for problem intersections or roadways. If officials decide that private enforcement systems are appropriate, they should avoid deals that constrain decisions about protecting safety. Privatized traffic law enforcement should be used solely as a tool for enhancing traffic safety – not as a cash cow for municipalities or private firms.

        The U.S. Public Interest Research Group will be releasing a report on this subject on October 27. Once it is released, it will be available at http://www.uspirg.org/trafficcamreport.

        – Joe Donnellan for U.S. PIRG

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