Senate panel passes red light camera preemption 4-3


A key Senate panel narrowly passed a proposal to effectively end the use of red light cameras around the state of Florida on Thursday.

The Senate Transportation Committee passed the bill by a 4-3 party-line vote.

Bill sponsor St. Petersburg Sen. Jeff Brandes, who also chairs the panel, said the bill simply reflects the public policy reality that infraction detectors are not making intersections safer.

“The Department of Highway Safety will not testify that there is a safety benefit,” said Brandes. “Red light cameras don’t increase safety, they are essentially a revenue-generation tool, and installing them at intersections in facts makes them more dangerous.”

Brandes cited an annual state report that said in most years since red light cameras came into use in 2011, traffic crashes went up at intersections monitored by the detectors.

Several municipalities still favor their use, however – or at least their ability to implement it, which would be preempted by Brandes’ bill, SB 168.

“Tortured numbers will confess to anything,” said Scott Dudley, legislative director for the Florida League of Cities. Dudley said the increase in crashes shown by Brandes’ data is likely related to a general increase in crashes, related to more miles driven by Floridians and and higher rates of distracted driving.

Democrats Sen. Oscar Braynon and Geraldine Thompson both expressed concern over local control, saying the bill’s preemption clause goes too far.

Republican Sens. Greg EversWilton Simpson, and Denise Grimsley joined Brandes in supporting the bill. Braynon, Thompson, and panel Vice Chair Sen. Dwight Bullard voted ‘No.’

“Red light cameras don’t offer us the human side of policing, which I believe is the most important aspect,” said Brandes. “It’s the cold, calculated nature of this that I find most objectionable.”

The bill next moves on to the budget panel on Transportation, Tourism, and Economic Development before moving to full Appropriations. A House companion measure by Rep. Frank Artiles passed its policy committee and now sits in Appropriations.

Ryan Ray

Ryan Ray covers politics and public policy in North Florida and across the state. He has also worked as a legislative researcher and political campaign staffer. He can be reached at [email protected].

One comment

  • Lee Holton

    February 18, 2016 at 11:40 am

    What does this mean to the public when does the fines stop coming and will there be a opportunity to recover previous fines the idea that the owner of the auto is responsible for the actions of others driving a vehicle registered to them is in my opinion wrong!!! Wives/Husband have an equal say in most liberal household they are not beholden to the demands/requests of each other.

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704