Victims advocate for new red light cameras at dangerous Manatee County intersections

Manatee County commissioners are considering the addition of eight red light cameras to two of its most dangerous intersections. If commissioners sign off during a vote being held Tuesday, it would be the first time four cameras would be placed at one intersection. 

Manatee County Sheriff's Office Captain Stan Schaeffer said they do their job at reducing crashes, which these intersections desperately need.

The intersections were chosen by the number of crashes. Last year, Bayshore Gardens Parkway and U.S. 41 had 79 crashes. So far this year, there have been 69. 

"They're busy intersections and we have crashes from all four approaches," Schaeffer said. "They are effective in curbing the numbers but they're also more effective in curbing the severity of the crash at the intersection."

Last year, Lockwood Ridge and State Road 70 had 74 crashes. This year, they're already up to 44.  Those numbers will rise with three months left in the year. 

"Drivers learn -- 'There's a camera here, I have to stop,'" said Captain Schaeffer. 

At State Road 70 and Tara Boulevard, a red light camera and a roadside memorial mark a painful memory from nearly 16 years ago. 

"My husband was killed while I was nine months pregnant, two weeks before our daughter was born. He left this life in a time that was so untimely," said Melissa Wandall. 

She lost her husband, Mark to a red light runner. Since then, she's advocated for the cameras. 

"If we have the ability to prevent crashes in our intersections so our family members can come home at the end of the day, then that's what we need to do," she continued.

It'll ultimately be up to county commissioners when they vote on Tuesday. 

"If you're stopping on red, if you're following a safety law, then you wouldn't be worried about getting a red light ticket," Wandall added. 

LINK: For more information on red light-running statistics, visit