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Controversial red-light cameras in Clermont to be taken down

Traffic safety is obviously a large concern for any area. Specifically drivers who run red-lights can cause extremely severe accidents. Often these drivers speed up as they attempt to "beat the light." In other scenarios drivers are distracted and do not even see the red-light. As a result, T-bone collisions can occur. Drivers may even strike a passenger walking on a crosswalk.

With these situations in mind, the city of Clermont, Florida, decided to install 24 red-light cameras at major intersections throughout the city three years ago. But shortly thereafter, the city reduced that number to six. Soon, even those will be removed.

The cameras ultimately did not yield the results the city had imagined. Ideally, the city was hoping that the cameras would put an end to T-bone car accidents. Instead, a large percentage of tickets issued were to drivers simply turning right on red lights, and these turns generally do not cause dangerous car accidents.

In Florida, a driver can lawfully make a “careful and prudent” right-turn on a red light. Unfortunately the red-light cameras gave tickets to many individuals who were making what turned out to be proper right turns. Clermont officials dismissed about four of every five of right-turn violations in just the first month alone, causing immediate concern regarding the effectiveness of the cameras.

Other counties in Florida have been using similar cameras. One county has experienced similar problems to Clermont. On the other hand, another county has noted that violations and crashes are noticeably lower at intersections where the cameras are installed. Yet another county is just initiating the camera program and hopes to quickly assess the results.

There are other factors that have affected the data collected by the cameras, including recent changes to the timing of yellow lights. Also, Clermont police did not have adequate time to obtain substantial results from the lights. Still, even with these factors in mind, the city leadership has agreed that it’s time for them to go.

Source: Orlando Sentinel, “Clermont will stop using red-light cameras,” Stephen Hudak and David Breen, Sept. 10, 2014

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