Red Light Camera Installed At Bell Shoals And Bloomingdale

Red Light Camera Installed At Bell Shoals And Bloomingdale
By Tamas Mondovics
general-newsAmidst some dispute over their effectiveness, motorists will now be under the watchful eye of red light cameras at a number of intersections throughout Hillsborough County.The county’s first red-light intersection became operational in late October, at Dale Mabry Hwy. and W. Waters Ave. in Tampa, with an initial 60-day warning period which will end on Tuesday, December 29.Since then, the county installed five more cameras four of which are located northwest of Brandon Blvd. including the intersections of Fletcher Ave. and Bruce B. Downs Blvd.; Sligh Ave. and Habana Ave.; Waters Ave. and Anderson Rd. and Brandon Blvd. and Grand Regency Blvd. The Bloomingdale Ave. and Bell Shoals Rd. intersection has also received a red light camera, welcomed by area residents who expressed appreciation for the installation during the community’s monthly council meeting at the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office District 4 Bloomingdale substation.“Hopefully this will increase driver awareness and reduce accidents at this dangerous intersection,” said District 4 Community Resource Deputy Pete Maurer.Cameras will take images of cars and their license plates, then a sheriff’s office employee will review the video before issuing a citation, which will become public record. An appeal can be heard by a hearing officer. The cost for red light runners will be $125 and will escalate in $75 increments following the second citation to a maximum of $500. There will be an exception in some cases, including drivers clearing a path for emergency vehicles.According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, red-light cameras reduce traffic accidents by almost 25 percent.The Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously on behalf of the equipment last year based on data by the sherriff’s office which has issued nearly 3,800 red light citations, blaming hundreds of them on red-light runners.Commenting on the results, which promise a decrease in broadside collisions, some have noted that rear-end collisions may increase as drivers become more aware of the camera—possibly after receiving a fine—and slam on the brakes to avoid getting caught. This seems to be causing concern over the efficiency of the traffic data; Sheriff Corporal Darrin Barlow was not worried.“The department is confident that the red-light cameras will make a difference,” he said, but added, “The sheriff’s department meets monthly monitoring the latest crash data.” For more information about the county’s effort of the red-light cameras, please visit www.hcso.tampa.fl.us.