ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- After the 10 News Investigators revealed the Florida Department of Transportation is shortening some yellow lights across the state, thus creating more red light camera (RLC) revenue, a number of lawmakers are calling on state transportation leaders to act.
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Tuesday afternoon, eight legislators gathered for a post-session forum hosted by Suncoast Tiger Bay. At least four of them told 10 News they saw the investigation and want Florida to fall more in line with national standards for yellow light lengths.
"I don't think it's fair that our citizens should be penalized for yellow lights that have been artificially reduced," said State Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg. "We know if you lengthen the yellow light by just one second, you'd significantly reduce the number of red light tickets.
Brandes, along with State Rep. Ed Hooper, R-Clearwater, and State Sen. Jack Latvala, R-St. Petersburg, all said they had made, or were going to make, calls to FDOT's secretary.
When Tiger Bay member and leading local RLC critic Matt Florell asked the group of Legislators if they would support a law that would increase the state's minimum yellow signal timing back to the federal standards, most of the group said yes.
State Rep. Larry Ahern, R-St. Petersburg, pointed out he proposed a bill this year that did exactly that, including penalize municipalities that failed to follow the law.
Other legislators that told 10 News they wanted to address the short yellow issues include: State Rep. Dwight Dudley, D-St. Petersburg; Jamie Grant, R-Tampa; State Rep. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey; Dana Young, R-Tampa; and State Rep. Neil Combee, R-Auburndale.
FDOT tells 10 News that it doesn't receive any direct revenue from red light cameras and it doesn't issue citations. One of the agency's top engineers also says the agency is looking at adding three-tenths of a second to all yellow light minimums across the state to allow Florida's older population a little more time to react safely.
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