>Red-Light Special

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I remember running a red light when I was 16 years old. Right as I gunned it in my Honda Accord V-6, my friend and passenger, also 16, muttered something I’ll never forget. “Man, I try to never run a red,” he said. “You can kill someone out there. Or, you can get killed.”


As my grip on the steering wheel tightened, I remember thinking how mature my friend’s statement was for his age. Truth be told, it’s a bit of a no-brainer. But still, I began seeing with clarity how profound that little piece of advice was.

As Gov. Crist signed a recent bill allowing Florida to used red light camera on its state roads, I find it easy to remember my friend’s advice and applaud him for his forward-thinking drive. If this bill does anything, perhaps it’ll get Florida drivers to realize seeing red can mean life or death.

I used to live in Miami, where there’s little to no adherence to traffic laws. As a driver, it was basically a catch-22: right as the light turned from red to green, you were either suppose to gun it within a quarter-second of the light change, or face an onslaught of honks from the drivers behind you as you waited to confirm it was clear to proceed.

Me, I always remembered my friend’s voice. There’s a fair chance someone would run a red light at an intersection, especially in Miami. Because of that, I always wait a second or two — face the torrent of honks of drivers who felt a two-second wait was the equivalent of an eternity — and look left and right before I accelerate forward.

Even though I lost touch with that friend after we graduated high school, I sincerely and subconscious thank him every time I’m behind the wheel. A lot of people don’t give any credit to young drivers; In this case, I give him all the credit he deserves.
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2 responses to “>Red-Light Special

  1. >While I agree we need some sort of deterrent to keep people from running red lights (I've been the victim of a really bad accident from someone doing this getting off 595), on the grounds of privacy I fundamentally oppose red light cameras. There is too much leeway for misuse and it feels very "Big Brother". Of course, nowadays there are cameras at ATMs, shop entrances, hotels, etc, that probably most of what we do at or near private establishments is recorded already. But at least they're not the government. Shannon Stout

  2. >That makes perfect sense, Shannon. Beyond the Big Brother aspect, there's plenty of speculation this law is more about taking money from private citizens than about their safety. At the end of the day, I only hope drivers are more cautious when approaching a red light. And, those who are stopped at a red-light intersection should always expect someone from the other side to be running it, and just wait a couple seconds before accelerating.

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