MANATEE COUNTY, FL - The act of running red lights at some busy local intersections is about to be a costly decision.
Drivers who run red lights at two Manatee County intersections will be subject to a $158 fine beginning 12:01 a.m., Monday, Oct. 15. The red light cameras are located at 53rd Avenue and 34th Street West and at 57th Avenue East and 15th Street East. A one-month warning period began one month ago. Since then 969 warnings were mailed to drivers who drove through red lights. Many of the warning notices were sent to drivers who failed to come to a complete stop before making a right-hand turn.
Manatee County Commissioners in September unanimously approved an agreement that many believe will pave the way to safer local roads by installing red light cameras at some of Manatee’s busiest intersections. Melissa Wandall, whose husband Mark was killed in Manatee County by a red light runner in 2003, has championed red light cameras across the state and said statistics show that red light violations are reduced between 40 percent and 96 percent where the cameras have been installed.
“For me, this is a legacy of love,” Wandall told the Board in September. “I wanted my daughter not to be marked by tragedy but to know that when something happens in our lives, we can make a difference. Then healing occurs. It’s not about trying to take away anyone’s rights; it’s about ensuring loved ones come back to us at the end of the day.”
Local traffic and law enforcement officials have also begun to evaluate the following intersections to determine whether there are safety concerns that could be helped by the cameras:
• Cortez Road and U.S. 41
• Cortez Road and 26th Street West
• Cortez Road and 59th Street West
• U.S. 41 and 53rd Avenue West
• U.S. 41 and 57th Avenue West
• S.R. 70 and Tara Boulevard
• U.S. 301 and 60th Avenue East, near the Ellenton Premium Outlets
“The goal is to retrain people and get them to abide by the signals, get them to stop at red lights and stop running them for safety purposes,” said Deputy County Administrator Karen Windon. Windon is also former director of Manatee County Public Safety Department. “Coming to a complete stop before making a right turn on red is critical to ensure the safety of other drivers, pedestrians and bicycle riders.”
For more information on Manatee County Government, visit online at www.mymanatee.org or call (941) 748-4501. You can also follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/manatee.county.fl and on Twitter, @ManateeGov.