South Pasadena is the latest community dealing with an unusual red light camera problem: hundreds of tickets are not being written, if deputies think drivers at least tried to drive safely.
For a relatively minor intersection, a single red light camera has recorded a remarkable 3,112 "events" in just three months.
But after reviews by Pinellas sheriffs deputies, 1,824 of those were "rejected", sparing the car owners $158 citations.
"If it looks like there's an attempt made to slow down or stop, then we're not going to issue a ticket," explained South Pasadena city commissioner Bruce Howry.
The camera in question monitors three lanes of southbound traffic on Pasadena Avenue. The outermost lane is right turn only and terminates at Palms of Pasadena Hospital. The right turn lane does not have a dedicated signal and apparently hundreds of people a month do not realize they have to stop if the signals over the two through-lanes are red.
"I got one," said Marion Class, a frequent visitor at the hospital. "I thought I was in the right turn lane making a right turn on red, I didn't see there was a problem. Except they said I didn't stop."
The city requested an additional sign right at the intersection stressing the need to stop but "the F-DOT wrote us back and said the signs we have in place are everything we need to do," Howry said.
The Department of Transportation's letter says in part: "We have found that many locations (with red light cameras) have design configurations that would generally result in right turn movements not fully stopping at the stop bar, resulting in a high incidence of right turn violations, even though these right turn movements do not usually result in red light violation crashes."
Many of the initial warnings and citations went to employees, volunteers and visitors at Palms of Pasadena. A spokesperson said the hospital will not comment on the situation in the interest of "community relations."
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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