In a new television ad, Tampa philanthropist and mayoral candidate David Straz commits to ditching the city’s controversial red light cameras, if elected.
“Do we really need red light cameras?” Straz asks rhetorically in the ad. “No, we don’t.”
Straz argues the cameras don’t make intersections any safer. Instead, he says they’re just a drain on the wallets of hardworking citizens. The penalty for a red light camera citation is approximately $158.
Banning the cameras wouldn’t be unprecedented. More than a dozen Florida cities have done away with theirs. In Tallahassee, a bill has been filed once again to ban them statewide.
Straz’s camp cites a recent study by the Florida Dept. of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles that found intersections with red light cameras saw more accidents after cameras were installed. However, the same report acknowledges that could be due to many factors, including just more drivers on the roads.
Straz isn’t the only prospective city leader pledging to take down red light cameras. Joe Robinson, candidate for Tampa City Council for District Two, says he has the right idea and would push for the same if elected.
“Red light cameras are not as safe as they claim to be, they are a money making proposition,” Robinson explained. “There are other ways to build safe intersections.”
Straz says one obstacle to getting rid of red light cameras would be any pre-existing contracts the city has with the camera providers. He says his campaign has a request in with the city for that information.