Red-light cameras ID 323 violations in first month of operation

Redlight camera 1

A Crestview Police administrator’s monitor shows a vehicle running through the intersection of State Road 85 and Redstone Avenue against a red light. (Crestview Police Department photos)

CRESTVIEW, Fla., Feb. 12, 2019—Traffic safety cameras are now active at two Crestview intersections.

The cameras located at the intersections of State Road 85 and U.S. Highway 90 and State Road 85 and Redstone Avenue have been active since the beginning of December, two of the city’s most accident-prone intersections, according to the Crestview Police Department.

Through December, red-light-runners received a warning, but since the start of the new year, notices of violation are being sent.

For the month of January, 323 citable violations were detected by the cameras.

According to the Crestview Police Department, it’s too many, especially for the two intersections covered by the cameras.

“Some of the video our officers review is truly amazing,” said Crestview Police Sgt. Chaise Rawles. “Amazing that a serious wreck didn’t happen, amazing that no one was hurt or killed and amazing that some drivers are so reckless, dangerous, oblivious and thoughtless.”

In one video, the offender is seen actually dodging oncoming traffic, weaving around vehicles that had the right-of-way on a green arrow and had already entered the intersection.

Redlight camera 3

The circled vehicle heading west on U.S. Highway 90 has just run the State Road 85 red light as seen on a 10-second video taken by safety cameras at the intersection.

In another video, a pickup truck barrels through the intersection a full 19 seconds after the light has been red.

Another driver was sent two violation notices for the exact same offense—failing to stop before executing a right-turn-on-red—in one day.

The Crestview Police administrator who prints the notices of violation receives phone calls from drivers who claim they didn’t run a red light, but video and photos indicate otherwise.

Once the violators watch the video and view photos of their infraction online by using the link included in the notice of violation, and see visual proof they crossed the white “stop” line on the road when the light was red, most agree they committed a violation.

Offenders have 60 days to pay the $158 fine for running a red light.

They can also contest the notice of violation, which is usually done if someone other than the registered owner of the vehicle was at the wheel at the time of the offense.

Drivers who receive a notice of violation shouldn’t ignore it, according to the police department.

If it’s not paid after 60 days, it is reissued as a uniform traffic citation, the same ticket someone would get if caught red-light-running by an officer on the scene.

A UTC violation fine is nearly twice as much as the city’s notice of violation and can result in points on a license.

How the system works

After the traffic light turns yellow, the camera’s radar detects vehicles likely traveling too fast to stop for the red light. (The yellow light interval has been increased at intersections with safety cameras.)

Cameras start shooting video and take two photos of the infraction.

Sensys America, a traffic solutions company contracted to operate the city’s red-light enforcement, does an initial review of the video and photos.

If it is determined an infraction occurred, the information is forwarded to the city’s secondary vendor, a retired Florida police chief and his employees who provide statutory review of the alleged infraction.

If the secondary vendor agrees an infraction occurred, the video and photos are forwarded to the police department.

Communications officers review the footage and photos, then look up the vehicle owner’s information based on the license tag photographed by the cameras.

Redlight camera 2

A Crestview Police records custodian reviews red-light-camera video of an alleged infraction before printing a notice of violation which will then be issued by a sworn police officer.

A records administrator concurs a violation occurred and prints a notice of violation.

A sworn police officer performs a final review of the footage and photos, then signs and issues the notice of violation.

At any stage of the review process, the alleged infraction can be thrown out.

If a notice of violation is issued, the vehicle owner has 60 days to contest or pay the notice.

Though not required by the state’s Mark Wandall Traffic Safety Program (Florida Statute 316.0083, effective July 2010), Crestview will also issue a reminder if the fine is not paid or contested within 45 days of being issued.

Since it was implemented in 2010, the Wandall Traffic Safety Program has been successfully defended by the Florida State Attorney against challenges more than 1,000 times.

Where the money goes

The program is revenue neutral.

No taxpayer money was used up front to buy the cameras or have them installed, and the police department doesn’t receive any money from the program, according to the Crestview Police Department.

The State of Florida takes more than half of the fine money. The rest of the money goes to funding the program, including paying for the equipment and companies running it.

In the end, the people breaking the law are the one who are paying for the program.

Brian Hughes
Crestview Police Department public information officer

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