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Thursday, April 18, 2024

City considers cameras to deter red-light running

Gainesville officials will soon review a proposal to install video cameras at intersections to help catch red-light runners.

Drivers caught by cameras would receive $125 fines for violating a city ordinance that has been drafted by the city's Public Safety Committee, said City Commissioner Jeanna Mastrodicasa, the committee's co-chairwoman. The fine would go up to $175 for a third violation.

The idea of setting up cameras was proposed to the committee by the Gainesville Police Department.

GPD spokesman Lt. Keith Kameg said drivers who run red lights can cause head-on or T-bone collisions, the most fatal kind of accidents.

Cameras are used to monitor red lights in more than 275 cities in 26 states, according to the GPD proposal.

Red-light runners caught by police in Gainesville are given tickets for a moving traffic violation, and most pay a $183.50 fine, Mastrodicasa said.

According to state law, drivers who are caught by cameras running red lights cannot be punished for moving traffic violations, meaning they cannot get points on their licenses or increased insurance rates, Kameg said.

That's because the cameras don't get a picture of the driver, he said - only the vehicle's license plate.

"People will have to be responsible about who they loan their cars to," he said.

The owners of cars caught on camera would probably be sent a notice with the date and time of the violation, he said.

Mastrodicasa said the cameras would be placed at between five and 10 intersections where the most accidents have occurred due to red-light running.

Topping the list was the intersection of Northwest 13th Street and 53rd Avenue, according to the GPD proposal.

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The proposal to install the lights will come before the City Commission Feb. 25 or March 24, Mastrodicasa said. She said she did not anticipate any opposition to the ordinance.

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