More red light cameras proposed for Manatee County

Manatee County

MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office wants more red-light cameras on the roadways.

The sheriff’s office says its an effort to save lives, but some people say the program is a nuisance.

On Oct. 24, 2003, Melissa Wandall was pregnant and decided not to join her brother and husband Mark for dinner.

“My husband just said, “You know, Melissa, I wish you would go with us, I’m gonna miss you,’ and I said- well I’ll miss you too. I love you and I’ll see you in a couple of hours,” said Wandall.

That night, Mark was killed by a red-light runner.

“They’re not statistics, they’re human lives,” said Wandall.

Red light cameras are currently in seven intersections throughout Manatee County. Now the sheriff’s office wants more.

Last year at the intersection of Lockwood Ridge Road and State Road 70, there were 73 crashes. So far this year alone there have been 44.

And then there’s this- the intersection of Bayshore Gardens Parkway and US 41. Last year, there were 79 accidents and so far this year, there have been 69. The year’s not even over yet! Officials say enough is enough.

“Its not a revenue-generating tool for the county, it’s a change to driving habits of drivers to make our roads safer,” MCSO Capt. Stanley Schaeffer.

Officials have seen so many crashes here as of late, they want four cameras installed at each intersection.

“They reduce crashes, they reduce injuries, they reduce your insurance bills,” said Capt. Schaeffer.

But some are not fans of the plan.

“It’s a double-edged sword. Yes on one hand it can be, but on the other hand, its kind of an invasion of privacy,” said one man.

“I don’t think its gonna be useful, I think traffic flows through there quite well as it is, and its just gonna be bothersome to have a red light,” said one woman.

Wandall lives with the pain of her loss every day, and she feels this effort will spare others from her pain.

“I say accidents are spilled milk. These are crashes, these are people that make negligent decisions because they’re in a hurry,” said Wandall. “We want to make sure that people are making very good decisions so lives all around can be saved.”

The county commission will discuss this proposal Tuesday at its board meeting.

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