9 new red-light cameras go active in Lakeland

By Saundra Weathers, Reporter
Last Updated: Sunday, September 01, 2013, 4:00 PM EDT

Nine more red light cameras went active Sunday in Lakeland.

The cameras were installed recently at six intersections and are in addition to the nine the city already had in place.

“We actually had 30 intersections that we wanted to look at as possible red light camera locations based on criteria from the Lakeland Police Department, crash data, areas where we have issues with speeding. We narrowed it down to ten, installed nine,” said City of Lakeland spokesman, Kevin Cook.

Tickets won't be given until after a 30-day warning period ends. A violation after the warning period will result in a $158 citation.

Leaders said the move to add nine new cameras was mostly for safety.

It’s something some drivers agree with.

“There’s plenty of people that run the red lights and they cause accidents and end up harming other people,” said driver Tina Stone.

But others don’t see it that way.

“I’ve seen people still get into car accidents when they turn left or right, they still get into car accidents. It depends on the driver, not if they have cameras or not,” said driver Eric Rosa.

Lakeland attorney Karl Pansler doesn’t agree with the cameras either. He submitted hundreds of pages of documents showing how the cameras are a bad idea to city leaders. Those documents included a study from the University of South Florida that is against red light cameras.

Pansler said the cameras aren’t helping the people on the road, they’re just highway robbery.

“What these cameras are is a witness to an event and they’re rigged for profit,” said Pansler.

City officials say that since the red light cameras were first used four years ago, violations for running red lights are down 77 percent.

"We know, based on a lot of our research, that in Lakeland, it’s changing driver behavior," Lakeland communications director Kevin Cook said. "And that’s what we want. It’s traffic safety enhancement. We know people are more aware and they’re slowing down and stopping at red lights."

The new red light cameras are at the following locations:

  • Westbound West Memorial Blvd at Martin L King Jr. Avenue/North Dakota Avenue.
  • Westbound East Memorial Blvd at N Massachusetts Avenue.
  • Eastbound East Memorial Blvd at N Massachusetts Avenue.
  • Northbound Harden Boulevard at West Beacon Road.
  • Southbound Harden Blvd at North Parkway Frontage Road.
  • Northbound Bartow Road/U.S. 98 at North Crystal Lk.
  • Southbound U.S. 98 at Griffin Road.
  • Northbound U.S. 98 at Griffin Road.