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Red light cameras outside ER make some sick

A Florida city decides that it doesn't matter if you're rushing to ER. It will still send you a ticket for running a red light.

2 min read
The sensitive cameras. FloridaWatchdog/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

For some government administrators, the tension between safety and money must cause headaches.

Many justify the need for red light cameras by claiming lives are saved. But then others notice there are profits being made, which tends to raise their bile.

One Florida city, though, may have gone too far.

As Florida Watchdog reports, wise officials has installed red light cameras perilously close to the emergency room at the University Hospital in Tamarac, Fla.

You might conceive that there would be genuine need for some people to run these lights. Ambulance drivers, for example. Or people who have, you know, been taken ill.

It seems that excuses cannot be made.

Last October, for example, Jacob Alcahe was unwell. He was sweating, hyperventilating, and experiencing chest pains. He drove himself to the hospital.

One can imagine that, in a state of some concern, the presence of red lights isn't entirely welcome. Alcahe told Florida Watchdog that he waited for several minutes, but he was scared. So he ran the light.

Thankfully, his condition wasn't life-threatening. However, what threatened his equilibrium was a $158 ticket he received for running the light. Yes, it was adorned with a red light camera.

Alcahe went to court and showed proof that he was on his way to ER.

You might imagine that the court looked sympathetically upon his plight, tore up the ticket and tore the local authorities a new one. You might also imagine that Rush Limbaugh embraces Obamacare.

Alcahe was fined a further $125 for taking up the court's precious time.

"I think it's intentional. It's definitely a scheme by the city to try to get more money," he told Florida Watchdog.

I have contacted the mayor of Tamarac to ask whether he believes it's fair to penalize those who might genuinely be rushing to ER.

Certain cities have decided that red lights cameras simply don't improve safety. Indeed, maintenance of the cameras can be more expensive than the revenue generated.

Arizona announced four years ago that it would remove its red light cameras on highways altogether.

In some states, there's evidence that it is smaller cities who cling onto them, purely for the revenue.

Tamarac has issued more than 570 tickets since last September. Yes, from the intersection near the hospital.