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Happy New Year! Miami's red light runners in for rude awakening in 2011

Miami’s red-light cameras are due to be activated on January 1, although according to local newspaper, the Miami Herald, drivers who are caught running a red light will not be getting any second chances; there will be no warnings about their misdemeanors, as from the off red-light runners will be issued a citation of US$158. Other schemes elsewhere have been initiated with a grace period.

“Reducing the likelihood of accidents caused by red-light running will not only save lives and reduce serious injuries,’’ Jose Gonzalez, assistant transportation coordinator with the city, told the Miami Herald, “but also improve mobility and traffic flow at critical intersections.”

The red-light camera program is expected to bring about US$8 million into cash-strapped Miami’s coffers in its first year. The city has installed cameras in more than a dozen locations and intersections including Southwest 37th Avenue and South Dixie Highway, Southeast 26th Road and Brickell Avenue, and Northeast 36th Street and Biscayne Boulevard.

Miami joins other South Florida cities, including Aventura and Pembroke Pines that have installed the red-light cameras. The program is not however without opposition. Ted Hollander, a lawyer and part-owner of The Ticket Clinic who has offices in those cities, said he has seen increased business since the red-light programs started. But he called the red-light cameras “totally unfair”.

“In my opinion, the law violates many parts of our constitution,” he said. “The way it is set up between the camera company and the city, in my opinion, is illegal.”

He said the red-light cameras violate the equal protection that is guaranteed by the constitution. “The notice given to those who receive a ticket is inadequate, and the contract that the cities have entered into with the camera company violates the [state] red-light camera law,” he concluded.

December 27, 2010

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