Sunday, October 14, 2012

Ready or Not: New Red Light Cameras Installed In Doral

Red light cameras have popped up in over 10,000 locations across the country. Police departments and city officials tout them as a way to save lives, but many people feel they are a way for cities and metro areas to increase their revenues. No matter what your opinion is about red light cameras, they are now part of the reality of driving in Doral. is an open website which tracks the location of red light cameras in the U.S. submitted by users. You can visit their website and locate most of the red light cameras in the country and the fines imposed by them.

Red light cameras don’t take pictures of all drivers. They are programmed to only photograph drivers who approach an intersection above a determined speed as the light turns red. A photo of the vehicle is taken as it enters and leaves the intersection. These photos are then evaluated by officials, verified by the drivers and then citiations are issued. While police departments and city officials claim these cameras are an extra safety measure, some studies have shown that rear end collisions have risen at intersections which employ red light cameras. This is thought to be caused by drivers slamming on their brakes in order to avoid a fine catching other drivers by surprise. 

Cameras in Doral went live on April 1st and cover four of the busiest intersections on Doral Boulevard. The cameras are located at Doral Blvd. and NW 107th Ave., Doral Blvd. and NW 97th Ave., Doral Blvd. and NW 87th Ave., and Doral Blvd. and NW 79th Ave. For the first 90 days, drivers received warnings, but now they receive fines via the mail. Fines typically average $158. It is predicted these fines will bring over $100 million to the state economy, and $75 million to local governments this year. 

According to the Doral City website, officials stated in 2009 that 676 people were killed, and 113,000 drivers were injured because of accidents related to drivers running a red light. The website does not state however where the accidents occurred or if they were all within the Doral city limits. The Doral City Council held a meeting on June 11th of this year to give the public a chance to express their concerns about the cameras. Luigi Boria, Doral Councilman, wants to address the issue again since he feels while there was an increase in tickets, there may have also been an increase in accidents since the implementation of the red light cameras. Councilman Boria proposed a study about the removal of the cameras and an alternative way to fine violators of the law.

On the state level, State Senator Rene Garcia has called the recently passed red light law a way for local governments to tax citizens under the disguise of safety. Senator Garcia has introduced a bill to repeal the red light law and is facing opposition from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety which claims red light cameras have saved approximately 159 lives in 14 major cities in the past four years. 

Red light cameras have sparked heated debates across the nation, but they still remain at intersections. Doral has recently become one of the latest communities to install red light cameras. Whether these cameras reduce drivers running red lights or merely increase revenue for the city remains to be seen. Either way, be aware you may be the recipient of a fine if you run a red light at the above mentioned intersections. 

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