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Red Light Cameras 'Doing Their Job'

Gulfport Police Chief Robert Vincent says the red light cameras in Gulfport are working, with a decrease in crashes at intersections and a large number of tickets issued to violators.

Gulfport Police Chief Robert Vincent says the red light cameras are "doing their job."

 "In our case, the results are positive," the chief noted, citing data that was presented to the City Council Tuesday night.

Vincent presented an analysis of the intersection safety cameras, with data from April through October. Judging by the numbers, the chief says the program is a success.

Total Crashes

  • April - October 2010 = 95
  • April - October 2011 = 70

Decrease of 26.3%

Injury Crashes

  • April - October 2010 = 30
  • April - October 2011 = 16

Decrease of 46.7%

Vincent is extremely happy with these results, saying that safety is the top priority. "That was the big thing."

Violations

Vincent says more than 3,000 citations have been issued between March and October, with just 349 of those to registered vehicle owners living in Gulfport.

Vincent also says that most of the violations are from drivers who have gone through an intersection, as opposed to making a right or left turn.

"A lot of people are under the impression that we are just out to collect money from people who are making slow right turns. The vast majority of these are straight through, not right turns."

Money

The violation is a $158 fine and is mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle.

"A lot of people want to know what we're making off of this. They think it's a big money-making operation; as you can see so far, the grand total of what we've made is $41,000 roughly."

Between March and October, the department made $41,884. For complete information, check out the Financial Summary pdf attached to this article.

Vincent concluded his presentation by explaining that the program is reducing crashes, and revenue from fines is covering the cost of the resources required to operate the program.

Locations of Red Light Cameras

The intersection safety cameras were placed at the following intersections in February:

  • West Bound on Gulfport Blvd. S. & 58th St S.
  • South Bound on 49th St. & 15th Ave S.
  • East Bound on Gulfport Blvd. S. & 49th St. S.

According to the department's analysis, the total number of traffic crashes and injury crashes have gone down.

More Information

The Gulfport Police Department has a "Red Light Cameras FAQ" section on their website.

Check out Chief Robert Vincent's Blog: Red Light Camera Update. Posted today.

For more information on how the cameras and systems work, check out the step-by-step video released from ATSClick on this link to watch the video.

St Pete Driver December 07, 2011 at 07:50 PM
These statistics are useless without an accounting of the change in traffic volume for those time periods. I drive past one of these camera intersections every day and there has been a noticeable decrease in traffic compared to before these cameras went live. Also, what are they considering a "crash"? Are they only crashes that happened within the intersection(ignoring rear-end crashes)? I noticed that they made no mention of the citation counts per month, are they going down like they said they would, or are driver behaviors not really changing? Also, the Gulfport Police Department has refused to release the average red time for their red light camera violations(the time between the light turning red and the car passing the stop line). This information is available, but they will not release it. If they did you would see that around 80% of these violations are happening within one second of the light turning red, and if they used adequate yellow signal timing the number of red light violations would plummet as they have other places in Florida and in other states when yellow times were lengthened after red light cameras were installed. So, the question is, why won't they lengthen the yellow times to make these intersections safer, I have yet to hear them respond with a real answer to that question?
Douglas Hudson December 07, 2011 at 08:41 PM
According to Gulfport's Police Chief, after nine months of operation, overall crashes have decreased over 26%, and injury crashes have decreased over 46% when compared to the same time period in 2010. After viweing the Chief's powerpoint presentation, I see that the number of citations has steadily declined since the cameras were installed, just as he predicted. Looks like the cameras might be working!
Paul Henry December 12, 2011 at 05:33 AM
Let's follow the money... 3,000 mailed tickets over 8 months to owners (not necessarily the drivers), who then have no opportunity for a hearing from the mailed ticket, so it's likely they'll pay the fine vs. eventually going to court and being guilty until they prove themselves innocent. The city's "cut" by statute (316.0083) is $75. 3,000 x $75= $225,000. The cost of the cameras is usually $5,000/month per camera. If there are only three cameras, then it is $15,000/month x 8 months or $120,000. Subtracting $120,000 from $225,000 leaves $105,000 or about 2.5 times what the city claims they made. Regardless, ATS has made and continues to make big money each and every month. As noted above, how many of the pre and post camera crashes involved the red light violation as causation? This info is coded on every traffic crash report written. The motorists of Florida need their rights to go to court and once in court restored, and the cameras need to be checked for accuracy every 6 months as are other enforcement devices. HB 343 and SB 568, the Florida Motorist Rights Restoration Act, will do all of the above.
Paul Henry December 12, 2011 at 06:05 AM
The city's numbers do not add up. The PowerPoint fails to account for the months where revenue was lost (the numbers in red). The actual net using these numbers is $30,247. The data appears to be flawed, since under the 2010 law, there is no per-ticket charge by ATS. The vendor fees for three cameras should be the same for each month, but they vary from $4,137 in March to $26,767 in May. The cost varies (monthly low of $14,250 to high of $15,042) by several hundred dollars for the other months. Pursuant to a Florida Court ruling, the city does not have to pay more than they bring in, so there should never be a loss on the bottom line as there was in March and April. Some other points to ponder from that document: 1. No traffic citations (UTCs) were issued at all in March and April? 2. The UTCs were heavier during May through October, peaking in September. This is indicative of real police officers working targeted enforcement, which has been shown to also reduce the crash rate without violating anyone's rights. If targeted enforcement was done during this time period, as the evidence shows, it is an incorrect conclusion to attribute a reduction in crashes solely to the cameras. 3. As noted above, the total crash reduction is misleading. Without knowing how many were red light violations (s. 316.075) as the cause of the crash (in the state, this is about 2.8% of all fatal crashes), it is an incorrect conclusion to attribute a reduction in crashes solely to the cameras.
Lynda December 12, 2011 at 01:28 PM
One sure way to measure the success of red light cameras is the coordinated opposition appearing in any and all public forums. Why is it that drivers' "rights" (like smokers' "rights" and concealed carry "rights", etc) always seem more important than victim rights? Until we can afford 24 hour "targeted" enforcement at intersections, who/what will protect my "right" not to be killed by someone who believes the normal rules the rest of us follow don't apply to him?
St Pete Driver December 12, 2011 at 08:56 PM
"who/what will protect my "right" not to be killed by someone who believes the normal rules the rest of us follow don't apply to him?" Lynda, there is no evidence that red light cameras do anything to prevent fatalities. In fact, the FHWA 2005 study on red light cameras(the largest one to date) showed a 10% INCREASE in fatalities at red light camera intersections after cameras were installed while fatalities decreased elsewhere, and that is my main problem, they take a picture and do nothing to stop dangerous 5+ seconds red light violations, they don't even do anything to get dangerous drivers off the road since there are no points, a person could get 70 of these tickets and never have any threat of losing their license.

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