JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- You might want to think twice before cutting it close with a red light.
The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office now has two red light cameras up and running: one at Southside Boulevard and Baymeadows Road, the other at Southside and Touchton Road.
JSO Public Information Officer Melissa Bujeda said the intersections were chosen because of their high number of annual crashes. At Southside and Baymeadows, 97 crashes were reported in 2012 alone.
However, Bujeda said the goal isn't to give more tickets, it's to promote awareness.
"We want people to change their behavior. We don't want them to run the red light," she explains. "We want to tell them about it. That's the reason for the grace period," she said.
That grace period will last about a month and means drivers will just get a warning if they run the red light. But who determines if you actually ran that light? Bujeda says the process begins with the company Red Flex, and then the information is passed on to JSO.
"It will be securely given to a sworn law enforcement officer and then that officer is going to review that and make sure that actually occurred. At that time, you will be issued a violation," she said.
Starting March 1, violators can expect a $158 fine in the mail and if that fine goes unpaid for 30 days, Bujeda said it turns into a "uniformed traffic citation" and it jumps up to $274.
Drivers we talked to say they're thrilled with the new safety precaution and many times, drivers run the red light at Southside and Baymeadows.
If someone is issued a ticket and thinks the cameras were wrong, Bujeda says the citation comes with a unique code for Red Flex's website where you can watch the video from the camera.
"You'll be able to view 6 seconds before and 6 seconds after of the red-light running," she said. "So if you do take it to court, that will be used as evidence."
Bujeda said the red light cameras aren't costing the city a cent. She says the money generated from the violations will pay for them. The funds will be split up among Red Flex, trauma centers throughout Florida, the state itself and the city of Jacksonville.
For more about Jacksonville's Red Light Enforcement Program and to see which intersections will be next to get cameras: http://www.coj.net/departments/sheriff-s-office/patrol-division/jacksonvilles-red-light-enforcement-program.aspx
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First Coast News