Cocoa Beach puts up first red-light camera
BY R. NORMAN MOODY • FLORIDA TODAY • January 14, 2010
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COCOA BEACH — Red light runners, look out. You may be captured on camera.
Cocoa Beach is getting its first high-speed camera that snaps pictures of the license plate numbers of vehicles running through red lights.
Workers began installing the traffic camera at the intersection of State Road A1A and Fischer Park, which police said is one of the worst for accidents and red-light running in the city. Cocoa Beach will see how it works and then may install two other cameras in coming months, following the lead of other Central Florida cities.
Cocoa Beach Mayor Skip Beeler said discussion about the cameras began months ago as police tried to look for ways to stop motorists from running red lights. The issue was put on hold while city officials gathered more information on the system.
"It's difficult for police to just sit at a traffic light," Beeler said. "It takes time."
A study by the National Campaign to Stop Red-Light Running indicated cameras at intersections reduced violations by up to 50 percent and decrease injury crashes by 25 percent to 30 percent.
The cameras will capture vehicle license plate numbers, the exact location of a vehicle within the intersection and the "red" traffic signal showing that a violation has occurred. Tickets would be mailed to the registered owners.
The first offense would cost the violator a fine of $150. A second offense increases the fine to $200, and a third and subsequent offenses will cost $250.
The fines, however, will not start right away. For about the first 60 days, motorists who run the red light will be issued a warning.
Police said signs will warn motorists that the cameras are in operation in the city.
"It's a deterrent to make people pay attention to the rules," Beeler said. "The reason I supported it is that it has made a difference in safety."
Contact Moody at 242-3651 or [replacer_a].