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Green Cove Springs to Begin Using Red Light Cameras

6:08 PM, Jan 6, 2011   |    comments
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  • Red Light Cameras
  • Sign on Highway 17 Notifying Motorists of Red Light Cameras
  • Car running red light at intersection of Highway 17 and SR 16
    

GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla. -- Next month, Green Cove Springs police will begin citing red-light runners using cameras that catch drivers in the act.

If you are driving down U.S. 17 (Orange Avenue) and run a red light at the busy Houston or Ferris street intersection, new red- light cameras will catch the violation. Cameras will be added to Harbor Road and 17 in  two to three months.

Soon after being caught on camera running a red light, offenders receive a ticket in the mail that will cost $158. The driver doesn't get points or higher insurance rates, but if the fine isn't paid within 30 days, the fine increases to $256.

"This is about public safety," said Police Chief Bobby Musco. "If you go to a t-bone crash at an intersection, somebody is going to be hurt. This is about public safety. "

Aggressive drivers run red lights all day and night in the middle of town, he said. A study by the department showed an average of 25-30 red-light runners at each busy intersection during an eight-hour period.

Musco said it is common knowledge around town that while waiting for a red light before turning onto Highway 17, it is best to count to three before pulling out when the light turns green - all because of red-light runners.

Musco believes the cameras will also make his department more efficient and effective.

"Would you prefer an officer patrolling your neighborhood to prevent burglaries and robberies, or do you want an officer sitting on the side of the street watching a red light...?" said Musco. "This is technology, this is the future."

Police are now testing out the system and training to ensure the camera system works properly, and will begin issuing citations on Feb. 1.

The new cameras are getting mixed reactions from citizens.

"It's up to the people to drive properly and we would not have to have the big brother, eye in the sky watching," said Sandy Lloyd. 

At a barber shop outside the city limits, George Lewis said he thought the cameras were "intrusive and just a moneymaker."

Musco said the city would be making money anyway with officers writing the tickets. He thinks it is a fair system that is highly regulated by the state.

"I am retired, so I am in no special hurry anyway, so for me it's ok. I do see a lot of people run the red lights," said resident Robert Fletcher.

If you don't run red lights you won't have  a problem, said Musco.

If you get a citation in the mail, you will also get two photos of the incident, and more photos will be online. You can still challenge the ticket in court.

Answers to any questions you might have about the red light camera system can be found on the GCS Police website or the website for the city of Green Cove Springs.

Red-Light Camera locations:

  • NB Orange Avenue North @ Houston Street
  • NB Orange Avenue South @ Ferris Street
  • SB Orange Avenue South @ Ferris Street
  • NB US 17 @ Harbor Road *(Within the next 2-3 months)
  • SB US 17 @ Harbor Road *(Within the next 2-3 months) 

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