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By Jessica Travis on Friday, October 4, 2013
The use of red-light cameras is fast on the rise in the Sunshine State. Currently, over 100 counties making up for over 400 intersections across the state have red-light cameras in place. The red-light cameras were installed to catch and ticket people who run red lights. The cameras capture vehicles that travel through intersections after the lights have turned red. The motorists who run these red lights are then sent a ticket in the mail, roughly $158, and are subject to pay the fine by a specified date. If a motorist chooses to fight the infraction in court and loses the hearing, the fine will almost double in cost.
With the number of red-light cameras quickly expanding throughout counties across the state, many local motorists are expressing their resentment towards the state’s overzealous use of the cameras. In fact, it has been argued that the cameras are not being used to deter vehicle owners running red lights, but are instead being used to gain quick cash from motorist.
Along with the red-light complaint, motorists have pointed to the fact that several counties in Florida that have installed traffic-light cameras have also shortened the time of their yellow lights. After the legalization of red light cameras was passed in 2010, the state of Florida didn’t amend the rules requiring a specific time for yellow lights. Currently, the Florida Department of Transportation does not have a mandated time interval for yellow lights, but they even allow for a less than a three second time interval for a yellow light in some cases.
The red-lights cameras are not the only traffic related issue raising discussions in the Florida community. In fact, motorist throughout Florida have been anticipating the texting-while-driving ban that recently became a law in the Sunshine State. The law, which went into effect on October 2, 2013, makes texting while operating a motor vehicle illegal. Fortunately, texting while driving remains only secondary offense for right now, meaning that a motorist may only be ticketed for the offense if they have been pulled over for another infraction.
According to the recently enacted statute, “Florida Ban On Texting While Driving Law”, a person may not manually type or review character messages in an attempt to send or receive messages on their “wireless communication device”. Although Florida Statute § 316. 305 clearly states that operating a mobile device for the use of text messaging or emailing while driving is a secondary offense, the statute list many alternatives in which a mobile device may be used while driving that are not illegal. The law does not prohibit texting while stopped at a red-light. Also, this list explains that using a device for navigational purposes, conducting wireless communication that does not involve manual entry of characters (talk-to-text technology), receiving and checking information regarding safety alerts, and a few other communication related actions are not banned by the new texting-while-driving law.
actions are not banned by the new texting-while-driving law. regarding safety alerts, and a few other communication related actions are not banned by the new texting-while-driving law.
Texting while driving will cost a motorist a $30 fine plus court cost for a first time infraction. A second violation of this law within five years of the first infraction will the cost to a $60 fine and will add three points to the motorist’s license. With fines for a red-light camera violations and texting-while-driving adding up, a motorist can be on edge while behind the wheel in their Sunshine State. However, like any other traffic infraction, these violations can be fought in the court of law and attorneys can continue to aggressively defend them against any unjust citations.
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