City of St. Pete begins using ‘red light cameras’ today

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Today, city transportation officials launched a new public safety program – Stop on Red. Installation of the first ten intersection safety cameras will begin September 1, 2011 at the following locations.
. 4th Street / Gandy Boulevard . 34th Street 1st Avenue N
. 4th Street / 54th Avenue N . 34th Street / 1st Avenue S
. 4th Street / 22nd Avenue N . 34th Street / 22nd Avenue S
. 6th Street / 5th Avenue S . 66th Street / 38th Avenue N
. 34th Street / 38th Avenue N . 66th Street at Tyrone Boulevard – 22nd Avenue N
The intersections were chosen after evaluating where red-light running crashes commonly occurred within the city and where safety cameras are most likely to increase safety.
Cameras will capture still images and video of red-light running violations. Warning signs alerting drivers to the red-light safety cameras will be installed. During a 30-day warning period beginning September 15th, 2011, a warning notice with no fine assessment will be issued to the vehicle’s registered owner. At the completion of the warning period on October 15th, citations will be issued. Each violation will be reviewed and approved by the St. Petersburg Police Department prior to issuance.
“The intent of this program is to enhance safety for our residents,” said Mayor Bill Foster. “Too many drivers choose to ignore traffic signals and risk the dangers of running through a red light. We want to change this behavior and encourage people to slow down and definitely stop on red.”
Over the past three years, the city has experienced 21 fatal crashes at signalized intersections, resulting in 13 fatalities attributed to red-light running.  A recent analysis of crashes at signalized intersections showed that 20% of collisions are directly attributed to red-light running. In fact, the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety reports that in 2009, 113,000 were injured and 676 people were killed in red-light running crashes. In that same year, 62 Floridians lost their lives making Florida the 3rd most deadly state in the nation for red-light running crashes. With the launch of Stop on Red, the city joins over 70 communities in Florida and over 500 nationally using the technology to create safer road and safer driving habits.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.