SHARECOMMENTMORE

NEW PORT RICHEY, Florida - One of the state's oldest red light camera programs is getting a makeover and drivers may not like it.

The City of New Port Richey is about to "flip the switch" on red light camera (RLC) enforcement of drivers who fail to come to a complete stop at right turns.

However, following10 News' story Monday about "Florida's Rolling Right Trap," interim chief Kim Bogart said he is re-examining some of the program's criteria.

"I'm not against red light cameras or the system, but I just want to make sure however we do it, it's fair," Bogart said.

TIMELINE: 10 News' Short Yellows Investigation
MAP: Short Yellows in Your Neighborhood

While this summer's tweaks to RLC legislation were promoted as protection against overzealous ticket-writers, the language that affects right turns-on-red doesn't do very much. It says the officers that review RLC violations cannot issue a ticket if the driver came to a complete stop, regardless of where the driver stops in relation to the stop bar.

But drivers who stopped a few feet over the stop bar weren't typically getting tickets anyway, because the Mark Wandall Act, which standardized the use of RLC across Florida in 2010, specifies officers should not ticket drivers who make rolling right turns in a "careful and prudent" manner.

10 News exposed how officers in different cities had different impressions of what "careful and prudent" meant,costing drivers thousands of $158 citations. Last year, approximately $24 million of Florida's $101 million in RLC fines came from rolling right turns.

Additionally,the camera companies'speed sensors, which officers rely on to issue tickets, aren't often accurate representations of a drivers' speed while making a right turn.

The findings had Bogart take a close look at what speed threshold New Port Richey uses to initiate rolling right violations.

Each law enforcement agency sets a threshold to receive right turn violations, and in Pinellas County a judge ruled any right turn under 12 miles per hour should be considered "careful and prudent."

A city-by-city look at automated right turn ticketing:

CityIssue Rolling Red Tickets?Min. Right Turn Speed CitedNotes
BradentonYesNot available
BrooksvilleYes5 mph
ClearwaterNo---
GulfportYes12 mph
Haines CityNo ---
Hillsborough Co.Yes15 mph
Kenneth CityYes12 mph
LakelandYesNot available
Manatee Co.No---
New Port RicheyStarting July '13Not determined yetATS suggested 10 mph; PD considering 15 mph
OldsmarYes12 mph
OrlandoNo---
Port RicheyNo---
SarasotaYes25 mph
S. PasadenaYes 12 mph City considering change to 1 mph
St. PetersburgYes12 mph
TampaYes 18 mph
Temple TerraceYes 15 mph
Source: FHP; local law enforcement agencies

Camera company ATS suggested New Port Richey start its enforcement at 10 mph, a lower threshold than most other local agencies.

Additionally, an ATS representative emailed Bogart, "because you haven't done the right hand turns before, you may want to start out by (writing) more of them."

Bogart tells 10 News he is more concerned with fairness and making roads safer, and he hasn't decided if the city will use ATS' 10 mph suggestion or use 15 mph to initiate a citation for officer review.

Either way, Bogart said his officers will use their own "careful and prudent" judgement in issuing rolling right tickets.

Elected officials in New Port Richey have expressed concern that their red light camera safety program could run a deficit next year, but adding right turn tickets could help bolster the program's profits.

Find 10 News Investigator Noah Pransky on Facebook orfollow his updates on Twitter.

For what to do if you got a right-turn-on-red ticket, read 10 News' original "Rolling Right Trap" story here.

SHARECOMMENTMORE