Mayor Bill Foster said council members are going to work with the legislature and certainly advocate two positions. One - don't kill the program because it does work, but two let's fix the inequities in the existing statute.
St. Petersburg, Florida -- Armed with statistics that show ear-end collisions up 40 percent and a recent letter from the Pinellas County Clerk of the Court calling the citation process unfair, Councilman Wengay Newton said the time had come to put the brakes on St. Petersburg's red light cameras.
St. Pete mayor issues change in red light camera policy
"We only have one option on this program," said Newton, "and I would make a motion that we terminate the contract with ATS and end the right on red or red light camera program."
Newton got support and a quick second on his motion from fellow council member Leslie Curran, who slammed ATS, the company that runs the red light program.
"They aren't so concerned to save lives and allieviate crashes. They're concerned for the number of dollars they can put in their wallets," said Curran.
The red light program did get support from council members who beleive they do promote safer driving.
Councilman Charlie Gerdes said while the number of accidents may be higher, "the fact of the matter is crashes with injuries at those intersections are down. Crashes with injuries are down."
In the end, the council voted 5-3 to keep the cameras in place for now.
Mayor Bill Foster said he'd prefer to keep the cameras working and help state lawmakers tweak the rules to give people who need it more time to appeal the citation - or perhaps show it wasn't them behind the wheel - more time to do so without seeing their fines increase in the process.
"We're gonna work with the legislature and certainly advocate two positions. One - don't kill the program because it does work, but two let's fix the inequities in the existing statute," said Foster.
In the meantime, the mayor's moratorium for people who are appealing their citations under certain circumstances will remain in place.
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