Lakeland police highlight importance of red light cameras

- Distracted driving is a known problem across the country.

The most recent figures show 709 people have died from crashes related to distracted driving and 126,000 were hurt in red-light running crashes in 2014 alone, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. 

Lakeland police posted video on their Facebook page showing numerous cases where drivers ran red lights, and, fortunately, no one was injured. However, that's not always the case. They say the distracted drivers in the video received citations.

Lakeland has just under 20 red light cameras. According to the Lakeland Police Department, the purpose of the red-light camera program is to increase overall traffic safety in the city. 

While Lakeland is highlighting their red light program, other cities and states are opting out. 

Seven states including Florida, are considering legislation to remove red light and speed camera use. Florida’s bill is now moving through the legislature and could remove all traffic cameras by 2021.

They say those programs, which have grown in popularity the past few years, are ripe for abuse. Supporters of the cameras say, the technology deters red-light running and makes intersections safer.

A Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reports crashes are up over 10 percent since introducing cameras to local intersections and rear-end collisions are also up more than 10 percent. 

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