Students Consider Whether Red Light Cameras Make Florida Roads Safer

Students Consider Whether Red Light Cameras Make Florida Roads Safer

In May 2018, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that red light cameras can stay. The court’s decision to uphold a 2010 state law allowing local governments to use the cameras stemmed from a ticket given to South Florida driver who sued the city of Aventura arguing that the city had ceded too much authority by allowing its red-light camera vendor to review footage of possible violations. This ruling sparked a wave of both criticism and support for the technology’s use in the Sunshine State.

The issue of red light cameras is controversial to say the least, not just in Florida but nationwide. In fact, we highlighted the very issue in an early episode of our podcast series, Peter’s Proffer.

In light of these controversy, we decided to ask college students their opinion of red light cameras in our recent Scholarship Essay Contest.

We were thrilled to receive an overwhelming number of responses from students enrolled in colleges and universities all around the nation. While we had the tough decision of choosing just one winner for the $1,000 scholarship prize, we are eager to share some of the best snippets out of the many insightful responses we received.

In the end, out of the nearly 150 submissions we received, about one-third of the students (including our winner) believe that red light cameras do not improve road safety. A majority of students said that red light cameras do, in fact, improve safety, and only a handful of students said that the issue was too complicated for them to decide one way or another.

Continue reading to see what students had to say.

Essay question: The Florida Supreme Court recently ruled that red light cameras are legal. Do you think red light cameras improve safety on Florida roads? Why or why not?

 


Taylor Avery, Lipscomb University (scholarship winner):

Tragos Law scholarship winner Taylor Avery

“In theory, the red-light camera systems use B.F. Skinner’s psychological theory of operant conditioning to negatively reinforce, deter, and punish drivers who run red lights in intersections. This system is promoted as an assistance tool for authorities in their enforcement of traffic laws and road safety. In practice, the red-light camera systems do not directly make roads safer and are valued more as streams of revenue for local governments…

This financial burden negatively affects drivers, especially those of lower income who are already at a financial disadvantage and now have another barrier. The red-light cameras are successful at generating a stream of revenue for a city but do not clearly improve road safety for drivers.”

Read Taylor’s full essay here


Jason Woytek, Pueblo Community College:

“Red light cameras are the invention of a government that realized that automating ticket writing is important for them to increase revenue without having to expend much in resources such as the cost of a human officer. In addition, red light cameras tend to cause additional issues in intersections where they are deployed… Overall, we must fight back against what is a power grab for cash from an overzealous governmental entity.”


Izabella Borowiak-Miller, University of Kansas:

“Yes, I think this would be a great deterrence for people who are running red lights. One of my friends from school was hit and killed by someone who ran a red light and they left the scene of the crime. Without the cameras on the stop lights, I don’t know if the police could have found them. I was also hit by someone who ran a red light and this person gave me a wrong name and then claimed that I was at fault. Without the cameras I would have been in trouble with the insurance company.”


George Stanley, Thomas University:

“Having cameras in place to administer a repercussion holds drivers responsible and limits the chances of speeding through an obvious red light… Once citizens realize that these cameras are there they think twice before they press the gas and because of that decision, safety is improved, lives are persevered, and thus we have the circumvention of destruction.”


Megan Blankenship, Pasco – Hernando State College:

“The Florida Supreme Court likely had the best of intentions but without the impact of the red flashing lights, and without strict distracted driving rules, red light cameras are just another form of intended control that defiant drivers ignore. Unfortunately, I do not believe that red light cameras will ever create a feeling of safety on Florida’s roads.”


Jayden Maxwell, Montclair State University:

“I think that red light cameras are a good way to improve safety on Florida roads since red light cameras are a good way to identify those that go against the rules of the road. It is good to use the cameras as they can be used to provide evidence in car crashes, hit and run accidents, and more minor things. The cameras can also help to provide the government with an idea of how the flow of traffic can affect the rate and possibility of crashes.”


Malena Kemp, Savannah State University:

“Placing cameras at red lights [is] an efficient way to improve the safety on Florida roads… The rate of deaths and injuries will dramatically be reduced when the cameras are put in red lights. It will encourage people to obey the laws and not do anything that stimulates danger. The safety of pedestrians and other cars on the road will be improved markedly.”


Damian Lawrence, Hofstra University:

“In my opinion, red light cameras do make Florida roads safer. First and foremost, red light cameras are supposed to act as a deterrent. I believe that they are effective in doing this. Breaking a red light clearly poses its risks, and the consequences of doing so may have dire effects. If someone knows that a camera is at an intersection, they might be less likely to break the light, lowering the chance of an accident. The presence of the cameras may also cause drivers to slow down as they are approaching an intersection, further reducing the chance of an accident.”

“Red light cameras may have their detractors, and may only be placed in certain areas for profit, but there is no denying the safety benefit they bring to Florida and the other areas they serve.”


Darlene Rodgers, American University:

“Yes, I do think that red light cameras improve safety on Florida roads…The red light cameras are a life saver, because they reduce the number of traffic light violations, and stop motorists from running red lights whenever they decide or feel like doing so. Also, the red light cameras are good signs of photo shoots that are evidence that assist authority in their enforcement of traffic laws. I think that red light cameras give the motorists a choice to obey the law without facing consequences or violate the law facing consequences.”


Ekundayo Alabi, American University:

“Before the introduction of red light  cameras, the only way to fine someone who ran a red light was to have a police officer chase offenders through the intersection, which can be dangerous for everyone on the road. It is much safer with red light cameras.”


Alexis Koratich, Georgetown University:

“The benefit of the red light camera, as I see it, is that it makes people think twice before jumping the light. I believe that these cameras offer protection not only to pedestrians but other motorists by making people carefully consider whether they will risk pressing their foot on the gas in order to save a couple of seconds.

In conclusion, while red light cameras can be annoying, they serve a purpose: to protect the lives of Floridians.”


Owen Welsh, Johns Hopkins University:

“Red light cameras undoubtedly improve safety on Florida roads. Not only do they punish those that run red lights, but the camera’s presence acts as a warning to speeding motorists that they may be being watched… With cameras on red lights, those drivers can be caught and punished, and the cameras themselves serve as a reminder for people to slow down.”


Jessica Telegraphis, California University of Pennsylvania:

“Personally, I do not think that red light cameras improve the safety of Florida roads. It’s easy to think that it would on first glance that they would increase safety, they penalize drivers for running red lights and encourage safe driving, but these cameras are only effective in theory, and not in reality. There are several studies on this matter, and very few of them show proof of red light cameras doing anything to help traffic safety.”


Britney Osorio, Maryland Institute College of Art:

“I think the government should respect citizens privacy. However in the case of red light cameras, I believe the pros of having them outweighs the negatives.”


Isaiah Wilson, Hampton University:

“Rather than improving safety for drivers the red light cameras hugely increase the chance for crashes… Are the idea of more red light cameras just a way for the local gov’t and contractors to make money? There is no doubt that red light cameras make money for local governments.”


Deric King, University of Rio Grande:

“I am going to be honest with you all for a minute here and come out and say I may have a few close calls when it comes to whether the light was red or yellow when I went through it…

I do not feel that the cameras will provide any extra safety to drivers in Florida compared to them not being there. Coming from a driver that has experienced both having and not having red light cameras I have seen no extra benefit from the camera being installed.”


Samantha Waldman, James Madison University:

“People are always in a rush to get somewhere and it just takes a few seconds to get into an accident. It is important that red light camera remain in Florida for safety purposes. Without the cameras, more accidents will occur due to people thinking they can run red lights without consequences.”


Lauren Tencza, Stevens Institute of Technology:

“Red light cameras are a ploy to increase the revenue generated from driving tickets, but this policy is worse than just the monetary aspect. When drivers are approaching a traffic light and are aware of a ticketing camera, they slam on the brakes to prevent getting a ticket, possibly causing an unnecessary accident.

Lawmakers should have safety as the clear priority in mind when determining what should and should not be legal, not money.

This decision to legalize red light cameras by the Florida Supreme Court is a clearly monetarily motivated ruling: it overlooks the danger to the Florida roads, and it had little to no historical evidence of increased road safety with red light cameras. In fact, there has been greater evidence supporting the opposite, that red light cameras lead to increased accidents.”


Katie Berglund, Wartburg College:

“I believe the red-light cameras do have the potential to improve the safety on Florida roads, but they without a doubt improve the enforcement of the law… The presence of a camera or lack thereof isn’t going to change how the law-abiding citizen drives. On the contrary, those drivers that do not follow the traffic laws may in fact be more inclined to stop if they know police presence is in the area, even just in the form of a camera.”


Madison Degnitz, Michigan Technological University:

“While added video security does not always aid in the safety and protection and others, having cameras at traffic intersections will ultimately create a safer environment for both drivers and passengers.

Also, the cameras can be helpful in non-traffic related incidents. For example, if a robbery were to occur at a bank near a traffic intersection, the cameras may catch a glimpse of what the criminals look like, or it may make a record of any potential getaway cars. While many people may have some concerns about these cameras, they serve more positive purposes than negative ones.”


Sophia Greenwalt, Drury University:

“Each side of the debate has its pros and cons, but ultimately, red lights got the ‘green light’ in federal law. The cameras intend to improve safety on the road. The big question is: does it fulfill its intended purpose? Even though everyone has their own opinion on the matter, I believe that red lights are necessary for protecting both the driver and others on the road.


Matthew Duran, Sierra College:

“I think red light cameras improve safety on Florida roads. People are always going to break traffic laws, especially if the enforcement is little or the punishment is weak. These red light cameras provide more legal leverage against traffic offenders, allowing cameras to capture the offense taking place in real time. An offender who habitually runs a specific red light is forced to avoid doing so if the same light has a camera.

These cameras also serve to gain revenue for the state. The improved camera technology allows for more offenses to be captured, resulting in more tickets and fines being issued and paid, which can serve to discourage offenders even more.”


Andrew Monk, University of Texas of the Permian Basin:

“While it would seem red light cameras might be a good idea to help reduce accidents at intersections due to motorists running red lights, the data has not proven itself.  Even if the data was proven, it would not be the cameras themselves that make intersections safer, but rather warning signs leading up to the intersection.”


Michael Thomas, Valparaiso University:

“I believe that these red-light cameras will effectively promote safer driving practices and reduce the amount of accidents that occur at traffic lights. Many cities are installing these cameras and they are forcing people to be more aware of their surroundings and to make smarter decisions when driving to avoid getting a ticket. This fear of a fine is the most powerful way to grab the attention of someone who drives carelessly and makes them decide to change their ways, so they don’t get fined. That is why red-light cameras are helpful and should be installed everywhere.”


Matthew Campbell, American Military University:

“Installing red light cameras could reduce the number of ‘t-bone’ style accidents in the middle of intersections. However, I think the fear of receiving a ticket would cause distracted drivers to slam on their brakes, potentially leading to them being rear-ended, and pushed into the intersection anyhow… I have worked in law enforcement since 2013 and have responded to hundreds of traffic accidents that stem from distracted driving or in-experienced drivers. In my opinion, red light cameras are a revenue generator pushed under the guise of improving driver safety.”


Darielle Anderson, Indiana University Bloomington:

“Overall these red lights cameras are implemented for the protection of the people driving. The light system was established in on the road for a reason and if a person can’t simply adhere to the rules there will be consequences. There is no longer room for things like this to slide and the cameras serve as a way for people to practice safer ways of driving.”


Jesus Vasquez Garcia, National Park Community College:

“I definitely think that red light cameras improve safety. It can help with car theft, school shooters, identifying a person and much much more. If and when a car is stolen it would make it much easier for a police officer to call it into the main dispatch office and locate in which direction the criminal is traveling. It can even help prevent violence in the way that if the person viewing the cameras sees any suspicious activity, the person can send law enforcement before anything escalates into an injury or death”


Nicole Santoyo, University of California, San Diego:

“I am not convinced that these cameras actually create a safe driving environment… Red light cameras are not effective in promoting safety because it takes weeks to receive a notice for running a red light. They will have most likely forgotten about the incident and therefore it is not the correct way to condition a person into not running a red light because the consequences are delayed.”


Lindsey Tracy, Millersville University of Pennsylvania:

“Lacking scientific proof, and with the recent trend of removal of red light cameras, they do not improve safety and on any roads, Floridian or not.”


Samantha Opach, University of Arizona:

“In most cases when people see these lights, they second guess running that red light and stop completely. They choose to not drive as fast and watch out for their surroundings. From my experience I can second handily say when I see traffic stop lights, I slow down immediately and watch for others.”

“Not only do these lights make others aware, but it can save lives.”


Serena Martinez, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee:

“…I believe red light cameras will help to improve safety because this will be able to show proof of what actually happened and when it happened.”


Carl Bekowitz, American Military University:

“They provide deterrence and accountability of citizens to follow the traffic laws emplaced to ensure safety on the roads and thus, improve safety. Furthermore, they free up officers to patrol more dangerous neighborhoods, inherently making them safer as well. With technology advancing at such a fast pace, it would be negligent in our duty as a society to not leverage that technology to improve safety and ensure citizens were abiding by traffic laws.

…red-light cameras both directly and indirectly improve safety on Florida roads through direct intervention, deterrence, accountability for violators, and budgetary impacts.”


Kevin Toscano, Texas A&M University:

“…I believe that red light cameras are essential in the well being of drivers and pedestrians through its benefits of mental stability and accountability, which will result in improved safety.

Additionally, red light cameras give drivers accountability for their wrong actions and enforces traffic laws. Red light cameras provide a sense of authority while driving and as a result divert drivers from doing unlawful and irrational decisions.”


Kristina McCravey, Colorado State University:

“All through my life, my mother used to say things like locked doors or cameras keep honest people honest. The act of running a red light does not mean an individual is a bad person or is looking for any sort of trouble, but running a red light can be extremely dangerous. With the installation of red-light cameras to catch those who run the lights while not in the direct view of a police officer the roads are safer in my opinion.

While these cameras are not the most popular solution, I subscribe to the notion that cameras keep honest people honest and, in this case, could even save lives.”


Jarod Mate, University of Arizona:

“The only way to make Florida streets safer is through education and actively changing the driving habits of both Floridians and the tons of tourists that invade Florida each year.  The red light camera program is not a safety program but more of a revenue program for the state.”


Bradley Tune, University of Illinois:

“These kinds of questions cannot be answered quickly and thus make the question of red light cameras and safety very difficult. The short answer, however, is that red light cameras will increase safety in one area-running red lights, but that this may come at a cost in other areas, and that Florida must perform cost-benefit analysis to determine the worth of the red light camera as a tool. No policy is perfect and so lawmakers must instead strive to find a policy that is perfect for their constituent’s needs.”


Ryan Webster, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill:

“I do not think that red light cameras improve the safety of intersections and, in fact, makes them more dangerous.

There are already a multitude of considerations a driver must make when presented with any driving-related decision, and the safety of themselves, their passengers, and the drivers around them should always be their first priority – not making rash decisions based on fear of financial repercussions.”


Peyton Coleman, University of Arizona:

“Red light cameras would help so much in Florida, especially near Walt Disney World… red light cameras would bring attention to the people who are in a big hurry to go somewhere, remind people not to tailgate to make the yellow light and to just remind people to wait their turn.”


Olivia Pandola, Arizona State University:

“Not only do these lights control traffic, but also serve as a preventative measure for car accidents. Without the presence of these lights or mandating their legal status, in turn, the people of Florida would remain in an extremely chaotic environment on the roads. If these traffic lights ceased to exist, the number of accidents and fatalities each year would most likely continue to increase. Therefore, red lights promote the general welfare and improved safety for those driving in Florida.”


Ivette De Aguiar, University of Florida:

“The more I researched this topic, the more I realized that red light cameras are only causing more trouble than good. The facts are that there have been increases in all kinds of accidents since red light cameras have been installed according to a report from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. These include rear-end crashes, angle crashes, and fatalities from accidents. Drivers who choose to stop abruptly to avoid activating a red light cameras cause danger to all the drivers behind them who must also brake suddenly, with the potential of causing a multi-car collision.

After reviewing this topic as a whole, I can say that I do not think that red light cameras improve the overall safety of Florida roads. Even though there may be less drivers running red lights, the accidents caused by drivers stopping abruptly have only increased in turn.”


Cindy Ly, University of Mary Washington:

“Red light cameras are an effective way to discourage red light running because red light cameras have been statistically proven to decrease auto accidents and influence drivers to approach intersections with more caution… The Florida Supreme Court made the right decision of legalizing red light cameras. Drivers who have the habit of running through red lights are more dangerous than red light cameras.


Katherine Sarmiento, University of California, San Diego:

“Clearly, though red-light cameras are unpopular, they are a viable option for increasing road safety at intersections. However, as a standalone solution, there are still issues of safety and room for disingenuous use of red-light cameras, and as a result, it is hard to advocate for the advocacy of red-light cameras when there are other solutions that are more effective and present less vulnerabilities to abuse.”


Tykia Swint, Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University:

“People who break the law and continue to put other innocent people’s lives in danger should pay the consequences, and red light cameras have decreased the number of fatalities due to car accidents in Florida, as well as increased the overall safety of drivers in the state of Florida.”


Chase Hayes, University of California, Santa Cruz:

“Red light cameras do nothing more than pose as a scare tactic and causes more havoc than thoughtful driving. It forces drivers to excessively speed through yellow lights in fear of getting caught in the red, when we all know every transitional light has a minuscule period of time to allow on-coming traffic to clear the intersection before turning green.”


Stephanie Grahn, Grand Valley State University:

“It is my wish that these cameras are spread across the state of Florida and improve the quality of driving… Placing these cameras on the most popular Floridian roads will not only decrease the number of thoughtless drivers, but also eliminate the high statistic of accidents caused by risk takers.”


Paloma Ramirez, University of Puget Sound:

“Having red light cameras will remind people not only that they should be more aware at these intersections, but that it is a criminal offense to run red lights… Not only will having red light cameras improve peoples’ judgment while they are driving, but it will aid in police searches and help then find past offenses they may have missed or previously pushed aside.”


Ashley Taylor, Point Loma Nazarene University:

“I believe that red light cameras do improve safety on Florida roads. It helps to cause people to watch their speed so they do not go through a red light and gets them to stop. It causes them to think about their actions because they do not want to pay for the ticket it could cause by running a red light. It forces people to think about what they are doing and to prevent a consequence.”


Caleb Lorbecki, Oregon State University:

“I think that red light cameras do improve safety on Florida roads because it is a deterrent to people for running red lights. I say this because many people do not have the money to afford to run a red light if they get caught with a ticket every time they do. No matter how much behind a person might be either getting to work, practice or a game, they will not run a red light and risk getting a ticket.”


Henry Atkins, Harvard University:

“Cash-starved local governments are increasingly weaponizing red light cameras, using them not to discourage traffic violators but to raise revenue through frivolous citations.”


Madison Meehan, University of Pittsburgh:

“I believe that red light cameras improve traffic safety on Florida roads. These cameras offer a bird’s eye view of roads that might otherwise be missed. More often than not, people can be careless or distracted while driving. These cameras keep drivers more accountable and focused while on the road. Knowing in the back of your mind that a camera could be watching you at an intersection could easily affect your judgment.”


Erica Torres, Florida International University:

“With red light cameras, the community will become more aware that there are eyes watching and will immediately make sure to make a complete stop at the red light. That person who stopped at the red simply because there was a camera just spared someone’s life.”

“Red light cameras do not only spare the life of those in vehicles but also those in motorcycles, bicycles, pedestrians which in some cases are difficult to see. It is my family and yours on those streets and we need every ounce of safety we can get!”


Jacob Baburich, Trinity Christian College:

“Despite the common belief that RLCs (red light cameras) have improved safety on Florida’s roads, RLCs have had no such impact. They have not subdued the surging rise in fatalities.”


Tiana Henry, Florida International University:

“I do not believe the intent is to improve safety. The interest of safety is not demonstrated within this law. I think the city makes money from those that do not abide by the law. In my opinion, if safety were a top priority, an example of furthering safety is signaling traffic spikes before the intersection once a vehicle drives attempts to drive through a red light.”


Matt Murray, Appalachian State University:

“Florida’s decision in making red light traffic cameras legal has provided a safer environment for drivers. Hopefully, the cameras will prevent drivers from reckless and absent-minded behavior. While cameras cannot completely eliminate drivers who run red lights, they can capture offenders. Citations for running red lights will certainly make a driver think twice before running another light.”


Alisha Anderson, Western Governors University:

“Just yesterday my father’s best friend was hit by a truck that ran a red light and it almost killed him and his entire family. It was terribly upsetting but might not have happened if the driver was aware that there was a red light camera in the intersection and if the people driving knew that they would receive automatic tickets for running a red light. There is not a reason for ever running a red light, so these can do great things to help people follow the rules to prevent fatalities.”


Alfred Consiglio, Suffolk County Community College:

“Red light cameras have increased short and sudden stops which has increased rear end collisions causing more whiplash injuries in people… Red light cameras are a new source of revenue used to tax and punish the honest citizen.”


Erin Aucoin, Husson University:

“The cameras themselves are not going to prevent people from breaking the law, or at least not prevent everybody. The punishment itself is going to be the biggest motivator, not the cameras themselves. It is because of this that I feel these red light cameras have the potential to be effective but must be used effectively and with proper punishment.”


Christopher Serafin, American Public University:

“I know from experience, driving in California, that I never notice that little camera atop the light pole until I’m really close to the actual light. I have for instance, on occasion sped up to unsafe speeds after spotting the camera and seeing the light turn yellow, in an attempt to get my car out of the intersection before that little camera goes off. During these situations, these cameras ironically have the opposite effect.”

“…I understand the concept behind red-light cameras, but I do not think that they work and will unfortunately not serve their purpose in making Florida roads or drivers safer.”


Taylor Coleman, Georgia State University:

“For red light cameras to increase safety on Florida’s roads, they must be implemented with safety being the most important goal, not financial gain. They also must have the same set of rules for each municipality, so drivers do not get fined unfairly. If these changes are not made to Florida’s red-light camera policy, then community uproar about the fines will continue, more tickets will be overturned, and ultimately rear-end accidents will increase.”


Maya Reid, Northwestern University:

“In an ideal world, everyone would follow the rules of the road, and we would all be a lot safer. But, this isn’t an ideal world. In this world, people do whatever they want, and red light cameras will help enforce rules that are made to keep people safe. This is why I am glad they exist.”


Keegan Gifford, Northern Arizona University:

“I think red light cameras could improve the safety of Florida roads to a certain degree. Installing them would not completely bring full safety to the roads, there will still be drunk drivers or people who are texting while driving. However, the cameras may be able to catch certain drivers who get away with running a red light.

When I was younger and I saw the camera lights flash after passing an intersection, I knew what was coming afterward. After receiving the punishment from the camera, I learned to drive with more caution, even when there are no cops present.”


Ayui Murata, Bellevue University:

“The illegal behavior of running red lights is discouraged by the existing traffic ticketing system as a means of punishment, while the variability in enforcement is sourced in random implementation of the cameras so drivers do not know which lights are being monitored.  This randomness allows the perception of high enforcement while saving costs by limiting the number of actual cameras being installed.”


Rebecca Vogel, University of Central Florida:

“…while a red light camera does hold those rule-breakers accountable, they do not provide added safety to the roads in Florida. They only bring on more anxiety and possible panic, increasing the risk for accidents. Perhaps it is not cameras that Florida needs, but a longer period of time when all directions of the traffic lights sit as a red light, before the light turns green for the other direction.”


Dianna Lopez, University of California, San Diego:

“I believe that when someone gets away with something they know is wrong, then they will continue to go on as they please. It is not until there is punishment and awareness of their wrong doing that they will change a bad habit or halt their former actions. Having these cameras and actually tracing people who have made the mistake of running a red light will improve safety.”


Jennifer Laflam, Texas Tech University:

“Red light cameras on Florida’s roads may be controversial, but it is hard not to believe that the chance of getting photographed running a red light doesn’t increase driver awareness and caution and create a safer driving environment. I know it did for me.”


KeTia Harris, Florida International University:

“I believe that drivers who are aware of cameras located in certain intersections may take more precautions; but the presence of the red light cameras won’t improve safety on Florida roads overall.

Red light cameras in Florida will merely ensure that those recorded and accused of committing a violation will receive a ticket–allowing agencies implementing the red light cameras, using the guise of safety on Florida roads, to benefit financially.”


Abish Pius, University of Pittsburgh:

“Currently in Florida, red light cameras are not optimally implemented to improve roadside safety in the long term; however, they can be altered to more effectively carry out their intended roles using lessons learned in psychology. By changing the focus of red light cameras away from punishment and towards a form of reinforcement is the key to improving safety on Florida’s roads.”


Madison Mastrolia, Rutgers University – New Brunswick:

“Unfortunately, studies have indicated that red light cameras do not reduce the overall number of vehicular accidents and injuries, and may even increase them. Further, those in charge of the municipalities may not have the best intentions in installing the devices.”

Because they simply shift the types of accidents instead of the rates of accidents, as well as their potential for misuse, I do not feel that red light cameras increase safety on Florida roads.


Dallana Wijesundera, Pepperdine University:

“Clearly, the implementation of red light cameras will improve safety because as Florida and nationwide culture moves towards more liberal practices, society inevitably drifts away from the once religiously instilled values which taught people to always do the right thing for the right reason.  People once believed that even if the law doesn’t catch you, then God will.  This truth is a critical part of any functioning democracy and is essential to capitalism and free markets. Therefore, as people move away from these one strongly held morals which are losing momentum in our generation, counter measures like red light cameras will certainly be effective at increasing safety, albeit by diverse and perhaps indirect methods.”


Kaleb Irwin, Northern Arizona University:

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen someone speed up and try to get through the intersection instead of slowing down when they see a yellow light. This makes it significantly more dangerous for everyone on the road because it disrupts the flow of traffic. Florida’s new red light law would reduce traffic accidents by holding drivers accountable for breaking the law and running red lights. If there is a higher likelihood of being caught and the penalty is strictly enforced than that will discourage drivers from breaking the law.”


Larkesha Stingley, American Public University:

“I believe that having red light cameras can improve safety on Florida roads because it’ll allow drivers to second think their decisions. Speaking from personal experience of receiving a traffic ticket for turning on red, it has made me become more cautious of my actions while driving. I now stop at all lights and I am more aware of my surroundings.”


Emma Bruck, Bob Jones University:

“The red-light law is not improving safety on the roads. Because of this law, the government is distributing fines to innocent people. Also, because of this law there is an increased risk of getting rear-ended at a red light. These red-light fines are unreasonable, given to innocent people, and are not helping to eliminate danger on the roads.”


Jerika’Marie Cruz, University of Arizona:

“Whether they are government tools used to invade our privacy or not, I believe that red-light cameras are important… I would have more peace of mind if the state of Florida enforced red- light cameras at every intersection.”


Elizabeth Lopez Escobar, University of Utah:

“Although using red light cameras can increase other type accidents for example, rear-ending accidents for those drivers not taking a red light, I believe those accidents would be of lower acuity in comparison to intersection vehicles. With more cautions given they are not occurring in the middle of the intersection, the red light camera would ultimately decrease worst accidents, improving the safety of Florida roads.”


Jessie Jacobs, St. Petersburg College:

“I believe red light cameras cause people that are normally cautious drivers to become even more watchful of their surroundings. I am delighted the red-light cameras have been ruled legal and would encourage the [Supreme Court] to continue making decisions that protect Floridian’s safety. With Florida growing at such an astonishing rate, the future of its roadway’s safety stays dependent on such decisions.”


Cassie Schlicher, Western Governors University:

“While I believe that having red light cameras would improve safety, I also believe that people should be aware that there are cameras. If people did not know there are cameras, their behavior would be less likely to be influenced because they would be unaware that their behavior could possibly be being ‘judged’ and the cameras would have no immediate effect. If people were aware, they would be more conscious when they were driving and it could prevent people from doing illegal acts, such as running a red light or committing a hit and run.”


Cassandra Simas, Point Loma Nazarene University:

“Knowing there’s a red-light camera, or even not knowing and finding out when receiving a ticket, may be just the accountability a lot of drivers need. Placing red-light cameras in busy intersections potentially prevents a large amount of potential accidents, reduces. Some of the stress on the road, improves road safety, and serves as a preventative measure in order to keep people accountable for their fearlessness on the roads.”


Kylie Yogi, University of California, San Diego:

“The red light traffic cameras have improved the safety within an intersection, but have also increased the probability of another type of car accident. The problem with rear end accidents does pose a danger to drivers on the road, but the decrease in an accident like a t-bone, which is statistically more deadly, is significant. Red light traffic cameras’ benefits are negated by the dangers it imposes around the intersection. Nevertheless, the red light traffic cameras can be a part of a larger plan composed of multiple components to increase safety on the road. Car accidents occur because of multiple factors, so you can not expect to solve the problem with only one solution.”


Pnina Aaronson, Florida International University:

“I myself received a ticket for running a red light, a frustrating and costly experience. I was doing the speed limit when the light turned yellow, and considered it a safer choice to continue rather than suddenly stop. Whereas the photographic evidence is rather damning, it doesn’t indicate my intent.”


Rebekah Burtoon, University of Utah:

“In my own driving experience personally, I am far less likely to be “risky” about trying to cross the intersection in a yellow light when I know there is a red-light camera at that particular intersection. This leads to me being more cautious and watchful when I am not trying to make it through the intersection before the light turns red. In conclusion, having red-light cameras improve safety on Florida roads for the vast majority of people, and they should be allowed to remain in place.”


Morgan Acord, Kalamazoo College:

“Cameras have nothing to do with preventing accidents and driver safety; if anything, these cameras are an invasion of privacy, and yet another way that we can be watched by local and federal governments; in this case, local.”


David Startz, University of Alaska Fairbanks:

“If people don’t have to be accountable for the actions they make, then they won’t have that voice in their head telling them they shouldn’t do it. Going by that standard, if a person has a higher chance of being caught running a red light, and therefore charged a fine, then the amount of people who run red lights will undoubtedly decrease, and if people who run red lights decreases then so will the amount of crashes that occur.”


Lucy Gourdine, American Military University:

“It might be true that traffic fatalities as a result of red-light running have not been increasing significantly over the years. However, it is equally true that studies show how Florida authorities can curtail the further loss of lives by installing red-light cameras. Moreover, this move could prompt drivers to adhere to other safety measures such as wearing a safety belt. If all drivers and passengers wear safety belts, injuries from possible sudden stops on intersections will be easily avoided.”


James Hudson, Colorado Technical University:

“I’m not for running red lights, but I believe that if an officer isn’t there to witness the offense it’s not right to give the person a ticket. I believe this is the next step in the government’s way to monitor U.S. Citizens.”


Nicole Navarro, University of California, Riverside:

“I definitely think red light cameras improve safety, even if the change is more minor in some areas that others, safety is safety, and every person’s life has value.”


Dylan Matson, University of Pittsburgh:

“Despite some concerns about privacy, the overwhelming body of scientific evidence sites the positive impact of cameras on highway safety. Fortunately, the Florida Supreme Court agreed. Coupled with collision avoidance systems, smart intersections with adaptive traffic control, and safer vehicles, technology is rising to the challenge to eliminate one of the most tragic and preventable causes of death among young people.”


Noah Thomas, New Jersey Institute of Technology:

“I believe red light cameras improve safety on Florida roads, and any road in truth. With this simple technology we can take preventative action against those who might decide to speed through a red light, and possibly crash into a pedestrian, bicyclist, or car, who decides to move forward through a green light. We need red light cameras to ensure that people stop at red lights.”


Emily Stahl, Oregon State University:

“In Los Angeles, there was a lot of safety problems and one of the biggest ones I noticed was the running of red lights. If Florida is anything like Southern California, I fully support this Florida Supreme Court ruling. Drivers will now have to be more aware of the light when they come to an intersection which will improve their driving habits.”


R’Keria Davis, Stetson University:

“Above all, other drivers’ safety is the most important factor when it comes to red camera lights. They serve as both a preventative measure to accidents and an incentive to drive safely. Running red lights can lead to fines, higher insurance, and the revocation of driving rights. Perhaps this is a harsh punishment, but a person’s life isn’t worth running a red light over.”


Drake Hayes, Wabash College:

“I understand that people do run red lights simply because they do not want to wait until the lights turn green. I think that laziness should be ticketed. However, I believe that an officer must make this decision, not a computer.”

“I do not think that red light cameras improve safety on Florida roads because computers cannot determine when one is just in running red lights.”


Henry Jackson, University of Pittsburgh:

“Although red light cameras do not make intersections any safer, they do contribute to the troubling issue of over-policing in America. Many cities and municipalities in the U.S. rely on fines from traffic tickets for their budget, and as a result, police forces are encouraged to collect as many tickets as possible. This means the police have an extra incentive to leave red light cameras operating – the cameras are an easy way to collect tickets without committing any manpower, and the cameras are often left up for this reason, even though they do not contribute to public safety. 

While red light cameras are admittedly effective at stopping drivers from running red lights, all-in-all, the cameras pose an undue hazard to both police and drivers alike. The cameras do not solve the problem of making intersections any safer, and they do not help police protect drivers. Instead, red light cameras are simply a ticket-writing machines that do not provide any benefit to the communities they are intended to serve.”


Cayla Hanson, University of California, Davis:

“An action that was meant to help public safety is actually hindering it. In retrospect to today’s world, red light cameras aren’t the best piece of technology on the market and, in concerns of helping public safety, have gone just too far.”


Megan Yang, University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee:

“Installing red light cameras is just one-step to improving road safety. I highly encourage other areas, especially Milwaukee, to implement red light cameras as well. If I am correct, Milwaukee does have a few cameras equipped in intersections, but not all. I do not want other families to go through the same tragedy that my family went through recently.”


Alex Dashuta , University of California, Irvine:

“Instead of only red light cameras recording the problem, there exists a solution to prevent all crashes from happening, especially on Florida roads. The Sunshine State should then seek such an alternative way for the safety of its citizens, and drivers like me who may visit Florida, as they drive.”


Maximus Morrissiey:

“Red light cameras no doubt catch those who break the law, however a great deal of those who are caught aren’t intentionally breaking the law, they were just trying to get through a yellow light without having to stop… A driver suddenly braking when they are too close to a yellow light in fear of getting fined and later losing hard earned cash could overload the braking system, causing it to not brake properly or even ruin the braking system, costing hundreds to repair, assuming this does not cause an accident.”


Gianna Giacoletti, Palm Beach Atlantic University:

“The Sunshine State can find other ways to decrease car collisions and in the meantime, remove the cameras that are only charging residents who already pay considerable amounts to drive on state toll roads.”


Zachary Clark, University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee:

“Without red light cameras normal everyday good drivers would have a temptation to make a poor decision. But if they knew there was virtually a guaranteed punishment for them blowing an intersection, I do believe that many of them would never even think about it when given the opportunity… I do understand complaints about invasion of privacy. But it comes down to the question of: does some people’s privacy complaints trump the ability to have greater safety at an intersection? I pick greater safety.”


Kavya Shah, Harvard University:

“Many people hate red-light cameras, and some like them, but they do decrease intersection crashes as people not wanting to pay the fine will stop at red lights, causing an increase in rear end crashes, but overall an increase in safety for drivers.”


Carmen Teo, University of California, Santa Barbara:

“If you drank soup with the handle of a spoon, the soup would undoubtedly make a bigger mess than drinking it from the bowl. The same can be said with red-light cameras. Red-light cameras were made to improve road safety regardless of place, but Florida (like many other states) does not have a sound system to properly benefit from installing red-light cameras. However, it is never too late to change that and there are plenty of ways to do so. Do red light cameras improve safety on Florida roads? Somewhat at this point, but it can be further improved on.”


Angellica Jones, Western Governors University:

“Overall, the importance of having a rule like the red light camera requires that there is fair judgement on who should really be charged for this illegal action. Not everyone fits in this category but if this law can be used in a just manner, I believe that there will be a decrease in red light running in ways that will drastically help and decrease the chances of accidents. I always believe that although the minority of society doesn’t abide by the rules, there’s always the majority that values their safety and their own life.”


Jonathan Ortiz, University of Arizona:

“I think that red light cameras do improve safety but in turn cost the community money that not everyone has. It’s a win/ lose situation but overall the message is clear. Red light cameras work to improve safety.”


Joseph Sambrano, Eastern Washington University:

“I don’t believe that red light cameras will help the roads as much as the people behind them think. All the manpower needed to run and maintain them would be more expensive than the actual return in tickets given, which only a quarter of people will follow through on. I hope they figure out how to utilize them correctly but I feel they do more harm than help in this instance.” 


Bree Cunningham, Middle Tennessee State University:

“Many additions to traffic lights, such as cameras have made the flow of traffic safer. Red light cameras have decreased car wrecks, by making drivers suffer the consequences of running red lights. These cameras have also assisted police by helping them to catch drivers that have committed a crime. Overall, red light cameras have decreased car crashes making the road much safer.”


Morgan Sterling, Northern Arizona University – Flagstaff:

“Some see the increase in rear-end crashes and argue that red light cameras do not improve safety, but the reduction of deaths is a clear indication of the positive impact that cameras have on the most important safety concern of staying alive.”

“In order to mitigate increases in rear-end collisions, research demonstrates it would be wise to implement red light cameras at intersections where right-angle impacts predominate over rear-end impacts.”


Jordan Kurniawan, DePaul University:

“Most drivers tend to not think too much about red lights since there isn’t someone watching. No police to notice you and if you’re lucky and there are no other drivers around, you can zoom right through without a second thought due to the lack of immediate penalties. That’s where the cameras come in. Cameras would enforce the idea that there’s someone watching and ready to act when you commit a crime.”


Ken Szefler, Fordham University:

“The misconception that red light cameras make roads safer is a ploy to generate additional revenue for cities and counties. They are a waste of time, money, and cause more problems than they solve. After a decade of red- light camera use in Florida, there is no evidence officials can use to justify that red light cameras have been effective in reducing traffic accidents.”


Alex Dorantes, West Coast University:

“Red light cameras are beneficial because it increases public safety. They are not only effective in deterring drivers from running red lights, but also these cameras also help decrease the number of accidents that occur inside of the intersection. These cameras discourage drivers from running these lights because of the consequence of having to pay a ticket. Many people tend to break a law if they do not face any repercussions for their actions.”


Derrick Fencher, University of Central Florida:

“Despite the minor issues that the red light cameras may bring such as the glitches and capturing something that wasn’t wrong, it still is very effective… Drivers should be aware of their surroundings and I believe that these red light cameras enforce these drivers to do the right thing… Red light cameras are used as a tool to ensure that the law is being followed. I do not think that there is nothing wrong with having these surveillance cameras. I believe that this will decrease the amount of accidents that will happen in the future. Red light cameras are designed to make sure that all drivers, elderly or young, are being safe in every aspect.”


Mya Figueroa, University of Wisconsin – Parkside:

“While red light cameras can improve some irresponsible driving, it isn’t very likely they will be a huge aid in improving road safety as a whole. Instead, red camera lights may actually result in an increase of traffic accidents in certain circumstances… Speed monitors can have a more on the spot response than red camera lights, which allows for the issue of speeding to be addressed sooner rather than later. Another offset of red light cameras is that they may confuse tourists. Florida has multiple tourist attractions; therefore, it is more likely that multiple drivers are unfamiliar with Florida roads. Red light cameras may alarm unfamiliarized/inexperienced drivers into stopping more abruptly which could ultimately enact in rear-end collisions.”


Alyssa Pangilinan, DePaul University:

“Even though they do not have the power to control all traffic problems, having red light cameras do improve road safety because of how drivers are likely to react to the implementation of cameras… Having red light cameras can decrease the amount of times drivers wrongfully speed up when they see a yellow light and those who completely run red lights.”


Olivia Rojas, University of Washington – Seattle:

“The red light cameras will make law enforcement easier as they will capture any unlawful activity. Tickets will be easier to hand out and reckless driving can be monitored. The cameras allow the traffic lights to be checked for maintenance in  much easier fashion, and will make the up-keeping of the city much easier to keep. The red light cameras do improve the safety of the roads as they are an insurance against reckless driving.”


Celina Renda, New Jersey Institute of Technology:

“The recent ruling of red-light camera becoming legal in Florida does not improve safety on Florida roads. There is no direct correlation to stopping at a red light and safety, if that was the case every stop sign would need to be a traffic light. The best way to improve safety is awareness of hidden dangers.”


Calist Getzschmann, Northern Arizona University:

“In some cases, red light cameras may actually improve the accident rate and fatality rate but unfortunately I believe that putting up and putting funds for red light cameras may not change anything that is happening on the road ways. Therefore, the Florida Supreme Court should rethink the pros and cons about these red light cameras and see if the funding is actually worth it and if the numbers are efficient enough to continue to use.”


Jessica Thorne, Ocean County College:

“These red light cameras are incentives for people to drive safer, and follow traffic rules when it comes to red lights. People would be less inclined to blow through red lights if they knew they would be receiving a ticket for doing so. I feel that these red light cameras will not only make roads in Florida safer, but that these red light cameras should be implemented country-wide.”


Hanna Martin, Thomas University:

“The truth is camera use has led to a decrease of red-light related accidents in cities where they are present. They do bring with them another slew of problems with public perception, but that is something law enforcers and officials should work on together so they can ensure a safer happier community.”


Kevin Tsap, Loyola Marymount University:

“…usage of red light cameras in Florida would serve one purpose, with two effects: to prevent people from running red lights, which can lower automobile accident rates, as well as lower the mortality of pedestrians. These reasons are imperative for governments to consider, as the well-being of their constituents must be at the forefront of their policymaking.”


Erika Sandoval, University of California, San Diego:

“Though red light cameras aim to decrease the the number of vehicles running red lights, in the end, these cameras end up doing more harm than good. The harm that comes from having these red light cameras is the problem that there are going to be more rear end collisions. This means that drivers will end up slamming on their breaks to avoid getting ticketed by the red light camera.

Another disadvantage to having red light cameras is that some people feel that having these cameras serve as being unconstitutional. Unconstitutional because these cameras violate privacy rights and can be abused. The data collected by these red light cameras can eventually be used for other purposes other than catching traffic violators.”


Cameron Green, University of Southern California:

“Red light cameras might possess good intentions, but as studies have shown, they do more harm than good. While it be able to catch people in the act of running a red light, it creates the opportunity to encourage others run the red light as well.”

“These red light cameras are actually making traffic in Florida more unsafe and making it more possible for accidents to occur.”


Kyaw Linn, City College of San Francisco:

“Different research has been conducted to investigate the contribution of red-light cameras to safety on the road in different cities in the United States. The results of the studies indicate mixed results as far as collisions and accidents are involved. The installation of the cameras has reduced the number of red lights violations and therefore, significantly reducing the angle or T-bone accidents. However, many drivers opt to stop abruptly at intersections to avoid running through the red lights. This has increased the number of rear-end accidents. Therefore, no conclusive evidence to prove that the red-light cameras improve road safety.”


Abdul Farouk, New Jersey Institute of Technology:

“If the government continued placing red light cameras at intersections throughout Florida, individuals are less likely to run red lights. This can be achieved with a modest amount of time, money, and support from the Florida community. So far, these cameras have been extremely beneficial in certain areas with regards to safety, revenue, and cost… If Florida state would implement these red-light cameras there would surely be a decrease in traffic casualties from red light runners.”


Gustavo Torres, Florida State University :

“In my opinion, red light cameras are incredibly useful in the improvement of safety on Florida roads through accountability and supplementation to police… I believe red light cameras are extraordinarily useful in the enhancement of safety on Florida roads via its application of accountability and augmentation to police presence.”


Mariah Hilton, Arizona State University:

“In time, the use of red-light cameras will shed some light on the full benefits that local governments will receive from utilizing this technological aid towards preventing traffic crime. Should the use of these systems prove effective at combating these traffic crimes, red-light cameras could present to be a great asset to the public and local governments of Florida.”


Dilian Rolins, University of Central Florida:

“From personal experience, I was able to gain insight and see the nightmare of navigating through red light cameras citations. The experience is not only difficult for a driver, red light cameras create issues for all parties involved.”


Josie Samuelian, Methodist University:

“After considering the effects of installing red light cameras, it seems that they don’t necessarily improve public safety so much as reduce a specific type of accident. While this is certainly a positive outcome, it is not the only one. Anything that increases any type of collision (in this case rear-end) can not be described as improving public safety, no matter the other consequences. Although red light cameras are certainly a good idea in that they attempt to solve a public safety issue, the fact is that the issue is not resolved. Therefore, red light cameras do not improve public safety.”


Mariah Schlueter, St. Mary’s University of Minnesota:

“Florida’s red-light cameras have proven ineffective at stopping crashes at intersections. In fact, they may be the cause of the uptick in minor crashes at red lights.”


Catherine Wang, University of California, Los Angeles:

“The red light cameras increase crashes and injuries as drivers attempt to abruptly stop at camera intersections. If used in Florida, cameras could potentially create even worse outcomes due to the state’s high percent of elderly who are more likely to be injured or killed when a crash occurs.”


Alex Valero, Florida International University:

“If our law enforcement was permissive, laws would be taken less seriously. This is the main reason why red-light cameras improve safety. Being an extra set of eyes, they help enforce the law, the same way the threat of receiving a citation makes people less likely to violate traffic laws.”


Vanessa Ortega, University of California, San Diego:

“In the end, police officers’ physical presence is more effective than cameras. I understand the cameras are supposed to stand in place for when police officers are not present, but the cameras do not bring any visible consequences of this violation, promoting the illegal turns to continue to take place.”


Kate DelSignor, Williams College:

“Ultimately, red light cameras have kept Floridians safer by reducing the number of extremely dangerous vehicular accidents, thereby preventing tragic consequences.”


Megan Pham, University of California, Hastings:

“Red light cameras free up police resources and allow for them to concentrate their efforts and attention on more pressing crimes and issues.”


Alexandra Quintero, Loyola Marymount University:

“Due to the statistics concerning car crashes in intersections, I personally believe red light cameras will help improve safety in terms of car crash related deaths. So in this regard, I believe that Florida traffic safety will improve, even if only slightly.”


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