Tampa council reverses vote; city to keep red light cameras into 2016

TAMPA — The City Council Thursday gave new life to Tampa’s red light cameras, voting 6-1 to continue the program for two years.

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The extension reversed a 4-3 council vote two weeks ago against renewing the city’s contract with American Traffic Solutions of Tempe, Ariz.

Tampa has 51 cameras focused on 21 different intersections, and police say their use has raised driver awareness, reducing crashes and red light violations.

The council didn’t dispute those benefits before taking their first vote on March 20. But Charlie Miranda, Yvonne Yolie Capin, Mary Mulhern and Frank Reddick voted no after saying part of the revenues should be spent on traffic safety improvements near those intersections.

This week, Mayor Bob Buckhorn agreed to do just that. One-fourth of camera revenue, which netted the city $1.6 million last year, will go toward such projects.

“We have spent a great deal of time talking to council members, trying to find a compromise,” Buckhorn said afterward. “It is our belief and has been from day one that these red light cameras are changing behavior, and our families are safer as a result. … These cameras work.”

Council member Lisa Montelione, who previously voted for the cameras with none of the money going toward traffic safety projects, on Thursday changed her vote to oppose the renewal. The reason, she said, was that the council’s agreement with the mayor steers the use of the revenues to camera-monitored intersections, not necessarily to projects where they could do the most good.

The mayor’s staff has said the city already spends plenty on transportation safety. This year’s budget includes $8 million for such projects. The previous three years saw an a total of $28.1 million in similar spending.

Virtually all of that money, however, has come from gasoline taxes, impact fees and the Florida Department of Transportation. Council members said they wanted at least some red light camera revenue, which now goes into the city’s general fund, to be earmarked for safety projects.

Characterizing the camera revenue as “extraordinary” income, Capin said it’s important to show the public that the camera program serves a safety purpose.

It does, say police, who reject about 25 percent of potential violations. In the 2½ years that the camera program has been in place, the city has more than doubled the number of cameras in use, but the number of citations issued and the amount of fines collected generally have declined.

Once a police officer has verified a violation, the program sends tickets to the owners of the vehicles photographed running a light. The city gets $75 of the $158 fine, with $83 going to the state. The city pays American Traffic Solutions to run the program out of its share of the fines. If revenues fail to cover operating costs, city officials say ATS would cover the shortfall.

On March 6, the St. Petersburg City Council voted 6-2 to kill its red light camera program by Sept. 30. There, crashes rose 10 percent during the program’s first year at 10 camera-monitored intersections.

By contrast, Tampa police said crashes dropped nearly 11 percent at the first 14 intersections to get the cameras during the first year of the program. The second year, the same intersections saw a further 33 percent reduction in crashes. Meanwhile, police said collisions at 19 crash-prone intersections that don’t have cameras rose by nearly 20 percent.

Red light camera opponent Matt Florrell of St. Petersburg disputed those statistics.

Florell, who reviewed nearly 30 studies on the cameras before St. Petersburg launched its system in 2010, contended that Tampa’s statistics leave out many rear-end crashes and that the city’s contract is only cost-neutral when it comes to ATS’s costs, not what city must pay officers to review the images and its clerical staff.

Florell predicted that as a result of adding four-tenths of a second to yellow lights — something the state is requiring to give aging drivers more time to respond to caution lights — the city will not make any money from red light cameras. He urged the council to let the contract lapse, then negotiate a lower per-camera rate with ATS.

“Why leave hundreds of thousands of dollars on the table when you don’t have to?” he asked.

Incentives offered

Speaking of money on the table, in two unrelated votes the council approved more than $100,000 in cash incentives to two companies considering corporate expansions in Tampa.

Both companies’ names are being kept secret under a business recruitment exemption to Florida’s public records law, but outlines of the deals provided to the council say:

• The city will provide up to $70,200 to a health plan provider that is headquartered outside the state but is looking to expand five locations either inside Florida or five other locations in Missouri. At stake are 130 jobs with an average wage of $51,500. The company expects to spend $825,000 in facilities to house the new employees, to make a decision by May 1 and to create the jobs by Dec. 31. The state will contribute another $312,000.

• The city will provide $30,000, with another $30,000 coming from Hillsborough County and $240,000 from the state, for the second project, a shared services center for a law firm with global operations. The firm expects the expansion to create 100 new jobs by 2017, with an average annual salary of at least $48,813. The preferred site is in the city and would bring an estimated $1 million in capital improvements. Florida is competing with North Carolina for the expansion.

Miranda re-elected council chairman

At the start of their meeting, council members re-elected Miranda as chairman, Harry Cohen as vice chairman and Frank Reddick as the chairman of the council when it sits as the Community Redevelopment Agency. On Mulhern’s motion, it elected Capin to replace Mike Suarez as vice chairman of the CRA.

During the council’s annual organizational discussion, Mulhern also nominated Cohen as chairman and Capin as vice chairman, but both declined.

Richard Danielson can be reached at (813) 226‑3403, Danielson@tampabay.com or @Danielson_Times on Twitter.

Tampa City Council to consider renewing red light camera program to 2016

TAMPA — The City Council today could give new life to Tampa’s red light cameras by voting to renew the program’s contract to 2016.

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The extension appears likely to pass after Mayor Bob Buckhorn’s staff met with four council members individually over past week. It would come two weeks after a 4-3 council vote against renewing the city’s contract with American Traffic Solutions of Tempe, Ariz.

Tampa has 51 cameras focused on 21 different intersections, and police say their use has raised driver awareness, reducing crashes and red light violations over time.

Council members didn’t dispute the benefits before taking their first vote on March 20, but Charlie Miranda, Yvonne Yolie Capin, Mary Mulhern and Frank Reddick voted no after saying part of the revenues should be spent on projects that further enhance pedestrian and driver safety near those intersections.

This week, Buckhorn agreed to do just that. One-fourth of camera revenue, which netted the city $1.6 million last year, would go toward such projects, he said.

“If what got us across the finish line was to give council a comfort level that a percentage of that revenue would go to traffic improvements, we’re happy to do that,” Buckhorn said Wednesday.

Buckhorn and his staff have said the city already spends plenty on transportation safety. This year’s budget includes nearly $3.7 million for such projects. The previous three years saw an additional $28.1 million in similar spending.

Virtually all of that money, however, comes from gasoline taxes, impact fees and the Florida Department of Transportation. City Council members said they wanted at least some red light camera revenue, which now goes into the city’s general fund, to be earmarked for safety projects.

Buckhorn’s administration says the camera money does go toward traffic safety by supporting operations of the city’s transportation division.

“You have to have money to run the operation in order to make the improvements,” Buckhorn said.

Council members, however, have indicated that’s not good enough. Capin describes the camera revenue as “extraordinary” money and said it’s important for the city to show the public that the camera program serves a purpose beyond generating operating income.

It does, say police, who reject about 25 percent of potential violations. Once a police officer has verified a violation, the program sends tickets to the owners of the vehicles photographed running a light. The city gets $75 of the $158 fine, with $83 going to the state. The city pays American Traffic Solutions (ATS) to run the program out of its share of the fines.

In the 2 1/2 years that the camera program has been in place, the city has more than doubled the number of cameras in use, but the number of citations issued and the amount of fines collected generally have been on a downward trend. If revenues fail to cover operating costs, city officials say ATS would absorb the shortfall.

On March 6, the St. Petersburg City Council voted 6-2 to kill its red-light camera program by Sept. 30. There, crashes rose 10 percent during the program’s first year at 10 camera-monitored intersections.

By contrast, Tampa police said crashes dropped nearly 11 percent at the first 14 intersections to get the cameras during the first year of the program. The second year, the same intersections saw a further 33 percent reduction in crashes. Meanwhile, police said collisions at 19 crash-prone intersections that don’t have cameras rose by nearly 20 percent.

•••

In unrelated business, the council is scheduled to consider offering more than $100,000 in cash incentives to two companies considering corporate expansions in Tampa. Both companies’ names are being kept secret under a business recruitment exemption to Florida’s public records law, but outlines of the deals provided to the council say:

• The city would provide up to $70,200 to a health plan provider that is headquartered outside the state but is looking to expand five locations either inside Florida or five other locations in Missouri. At stake are 130 jobs with an average wage of $51,500. The company expects to spend $825,000 in facilities to house the new employees, to make a decision by May 1 and to create the jobs by Dec. 31. The state would contribute another $312,000.

• The city would provide $30,000, with another $30,000 coming from Hillsborough County and $240,000 from the state, for the second project, a shared services center for a law firm with global operations. The firm expects the expansion to create 100 new jobs by 2017, with an average annual salary of at least $48,813. The preferred site is in the city and would bring an estimated $1 million in capital improvements. Florida is competing with North Carolina for the expansion.

Richard Danielson can be reached at (813) 226-3403, Danielson@tampabay.com or @Danielson_Times on Twitter.

Driver Explains How Road Rage Led to ‘Instant Karma’ Video

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The Florida woman whose video of a road rage driver flipping her the bird, cutting her off and then crashing seconds later said today that she had no idea what was going to happen when she began shooting the video on her iPhone.

The woman, who would not give her name, told ABC News affiliate WFTS she was taken by surprise when a man in a truck began tailgating her on a local highway in Tampa.

The video shows the man trying to pass her and flipping his middle finger at her. He then cuts in front of her, loses control of his truck and spins into the shoulder, hitting a lamppost.

The incident was dubbed “instant karma” on YouTube, where it gained more than 4 million views.

The woman can be heard laughing in the video and saying, “That’s what you get, all on video buddy!”

“He just started tailgating me and I’m looking in my mirrors and I’m like dude, what is going on. I didn’t even realize he shot a bird at me until after the video because I was focused on the road,” the woman told WFTS.

Contacted by ABC News, the woman declined to be interviewed.

“I just pulled out the phone, driving with one hand, focusing on the road and my mirrors and everything, and held up my phone,” she said.

Jeffrey White, 33, of Tampa  was arrested and charged with reckless driving and leaving the scene of a crash.

The woman told WFTS that White left the scene of the accident before police arrived, but she snapped a photo of his license plates and provided it to authorities.

 

Watch case of Florida road rage result in ‘instant karma,’ thanks to video now … – The Huntsville Times

More than 8.4 million people have watched a video which has gone viral since Wednesday of a Florida driver with a case of road rage.

Troopers, according to WTSP, arrested Jeffrey White, 33, at his Tampa home Wednesday for leaving the scene of a traffic crash, careless driving and failing to wear his seatbelt.

Police were able to arrest White, thanks to a woman who caught his road rage on video.

The woman, who didn’t want to be identified, said White got “instant karma” after tailgating her car for three minutes, signaling an obscene gesture as he passed, then losing control of his truck and crashing into a pole.

The woman posted the video on YouTube Wednesday under the title, “Redneck Road Rage/Instant Karma.” 

According to the report, the woman pulled over and waited for Florida Highway Patrol troopers. White took off, but because of her video, police located him.

Check out the video is below. The woman’s reaction at the end is priceless.

(Warning: video contains an obscene gesture) 

Tampa, Florida News: Woman Captures Funny Road Rage Incident in Viral …

A Tampa woman being tailgated by an impatient pickup truck driver recorded the incident on her cellphone. Little did she know what would happen next.

The woman was traveling on U.S. 41 near Tampa, Fla. when she noticed she was being tailgated. Maintaining her eyes on the road, the woman recorded the incident with her cellphone by pointing it into her rearview mirror.

Staying in her lane, because the other lanes were occupied, the woman noticed the driver passing her on the right. He displayed his middle finger while hanging his head out the window.

That’s where the woman probably thought the incident was over. Still, she kept her phone recording the trucks movements.

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Almost immediately after passing her, the truck driver’s pickup truck started fishtailing and heading left towards the opposing lanes of traffic. It passed through the southbound lanes of U.S. 41 and into a lightpole before coming to rest on the grass.

The woman’s reaction was rather humorous, laughing at the driver’s misfortunes and saying “that’s what you get! All on video buddy!”

Wishing to remain anonymous, the woman posted the video on YouTube with the user name “Florida Driver.” She had no idea the video would receive all the attention it has. As of Saturday evening, the video, titled “Redneck Road Rage/Instant Karma,” has received over seven million views.

As for the driver, 33-year-old Jeffrey White, he was caught thanks to the woman’s cellphone video that included his license plate.

He was charged with leaving the scene of a traffic crash, careless driving and failure to wear a seat belt. Thankfully, no one was injured in the incident, but the woman says White’s behavior was extremely thoughtless.

“This moron could have easily killed somebody with his moronic behavior, and my laughing at the end would have been replaced with tears,” she said in the YouTube description.

Since posting her video to YouTube, the woman has been receiving phone calls from tons of media outlets and HLNTV.com managed to get an exclusive phone interview with the woman.


Road rage karma caught on video: Redneck flips bird, loses control of his truck

A driver in Florida was recently caught on video glorying in a bit of self-absorbed road rage. In the same video, he found out that the karmic wheel turns full circle — and sometimes it turns really, really quickly.

Huffington post reported March 27 that one Florida Driver (the handle used by the “Redneck Road Rage” video uploader) took the footage while on the highway in Tampa. Apparently the male driver of a vehicle following Florida Driver had been tailgating for some time, so she decided that perhaps a video recording of what appeared to be a road rage incident in progress was in order.

“I couldn’t move over because there were trucks in the right lane,” Florida Driver noted in the video description, “and I sure as heck wasn’t going to speed on a rainy day with the roads being as slick as they were.”

When Florida Driver pulls away from traffic on her right, the enraged guy behind her suddenly veers into the right lane and flies past her. He then slows down, then speeds up to keep pace, shooting her the bird.

Unfortunately for Road Rage Driver, those same slick roads that Florida Driver was attempting to navigate with care became hazardous to his health, engaging his suddenly no longer in-flight finger and its nine colleagues in an effort to gain control of his speeding vehicle.

In the video, Road Rage Driver loses control of his truck, fishtailing ahead of Florida Driver. He then slides through an intersection, going sideways into the median, then slams violently into a light pole. Thankfully, no oncoming traffic was there to meet the runaway vehicle.

As Florida Driver glides on past, she yells, “That’s what you get! All on video, buddy!” Her joy at the guy’s sudden face-to-face with karmic-laced misfortune was evident in her voice. The mocking laughter was also a good indicator she was enjoying the sudden turn of events.

She notes in the video description that the guy was unhurt in the self-made accident and fled the scene. She adds that he was later caught “thanks to this video” by the police.

The video has gone viral, racking up over 7.5 million views since it was posted on March 26.

The ignominy of being the star of a road rage episode gone horribly wrong on YouTube might have been a pretty awful thing to endure — had that been the end of Road Rage Driver’s problems. Well, that, and the fact that he had crashed his truck.

But Huffington Post discovered that the Redneck Road Rage Driver and Instant Karma recipient was one Jeffrey Travis White. It would appear that White decided to abandon his vehicle after the wreck. Florida Highway Patrol wrote in a release: “Using information contained in the video provided by the witness, State Troopers located White at his Tampa residence and arrested him for Leaving the Scene of a Traffic Crash, Careless Driving and failing to wear his seatbelt.”

Too bad TruTV doesn’t make those “Top 20 Most Shocking…” shows any more. The “Redneck Road Rage/Instant Karma” video definitely would have been a contender for inclusion.

WATCH: Florida road rage incident turns into ‘instant karma’

A driver in Florida is having the last laugh after being the victim of a road rage incident which she captured on video and has gone viral.

The video which was titled “Redneck Road Rage/Instant Karma” has over 7 million views on YouTube.

While driving outside of Tampa, the woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, was being tailgated by an impatient pickup truck driver.

The pickup driver eventually overtakes her, not once, but twice. On the second time, he makes an offensive gesture and speeds away.

That’s when “instant karma” intervened. The pickup driver loses control and crashes into a ditch.

The woman filming laughs and can be heard saying, “that’s what you get, all on video buddy.”

WATCH: The driver who filmed the road rage incident speaks out




The pickup driver was identified by Florida Highway Patrol as Jeffrey Travis White. White was charged with leaving the scene of a crash and failing to wear a seat belt.

© Shaw Media, 2014

Florida Road Rage Driver Arrested After Instant Karma Crash Video Goes Viral …

A Florida man was arrested for reckless driving after a video titled “Redneck Roadrage/Instant Karma” went viral on YouTube.

Authorities identified the man, who can be seen hanging out of his window and flipping off the driver in the video, which has over 7.8 million views on YouTube.

Tampa police arrested 33-year-old Jeffrey White for leaving the scene of an accident, reckless driving, and failing to wear a seatbelt.

The woman behind the video told WTSP, she’s sorry she laughed when the driver sped past her and then promptly lost control of his pickup truck, traveling across the median and slamming into a post.

“Honestly, looking back, I feel kind of bad for laughing,” she said, declining to give her name. “But at the same time, it’s kind of funny.”

The woman defended herself for filming while driving, saying she didn’t even know he flipped her off until later because she had been watching the road. She says she uploaded the video to YouTube just for her friends at work to watch. She had no idea what a reaction it would garner.

“None of us are good drivers,” she said. “We all have our problems. Maybe this is his opportunity for growth. Maybe he can use this as a learning tool and not go off the rails next time.”

Sources: WTSPMediaite

Video of Tampa driver’s "instant karma" crash

TAMPA, Fla. -

Sometimes what goes around comes around as a Florida driver finds out after he cuts off a woman, makes a rude gesture towards her and crashes into a poll.

You also get uploaded to the Internet for the world to see arrested and charged with leaving the scene of a crash.

 ”Florida driver” as she’s now known on YouTube was caught it all on tape.

“I hope he learns his lesson,” says the woman who filmed the whole ordeal.

She says she decided to start filming when Jeffery White, 33, cut off another driver.

Then wouldn’t back off.

She explains, “I held it up just like this and was recording just like that. The speed limit was 55. I had already slowed down to about 50 as it went down and I just knew because he had cut off the person that I had just passed  just so he could get in front of me.”

You can see white getting a tad too close. He whips it into the right lane to pass,  speeds up, then slows down.”When he stopped and saw the camera, that was, like, completely hilarious.”

As White drove by the second time, he shot her the old “one fingered salute.”

White then takes off swerves back into the left lane, over-correct, crosses traffic then slams into a pole.

She now says maybe she shouldn’t have laughed.

“If he’d hit somebody, that reaction would not have been the same.”

You also get uploaded to the Internet for the world to see arrested and charged with leaving the scene of a crash.

 ”Florida driver” as she’s now known on YouTube was caught it all on tape.

“I hope he learns his lesson,” says the woman who filmed the whole ordeal.

She says she decided to start filming when Jeffery White, 33, cut off another driver.

Then wouldn’t back off.

She explains, “I held it up just like this and was recording just like that. The speed limit was 55. I had already slowed down to about 50 as it went down and I just knew because he had cut off the person that I had just passed  just so he could get in front of me.”

You can see white getting a tad too close. He whips it into the right lane to pass,  speeds up, then slows down.

“When he stopped and saw the camera, that was, like, completely hilarious.”

As White drove by the second time, he shot her the old “one fingered salute.”

White then takes off swerves back into the left lane, over-correct, crosses traffic then slams into a pole.

She now says maybe she shouldn’t have laughed.

“If he’d hit somebody, that reaction would not have been the same.”

Road rage crash caught on cell phone video

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Updated: Friday, March 28 2014, 09:49 AM EDT
TAMPA, Fla. (WKRC) — One man`s road rage became instant karma on a highway in Florida this week and it was all caught on a cell phone video.

In a YouTube video, a driver in Tampa, Fla., said a pickup truck was tailgating her for about three minutes. She was in the left lane and passing trucks, but apparently not going fast enough.

[CLICK HERE to see the full video. WARNING: Crude hand gesture used]

The roads were wet on Monday, March 24th, when she shot the incident. She wrote in her YouTube post that she wasn`t going to speed because of the wet roads and she was turning left in less than a mile.

After noticing the pick up truck behind her, she grabbed her cell phone and hit record. She said the guy passed a truck in a left turn lane and was driving recklessly on the road and being “ignorant”.

As the two get past the line of trucks, he speeds into the right lane. He speeds up and slows down and then gives her “the middle finger salute” before hitting the gas one last time.

As he does, he speeds to get in front of her but fishtails on the wet road, through an intersection before crashing into a tree. The crash can be heard on her video.

As she passes the accident, she can be heard laughing at the driver. She wrote “This moron could have easily killed somebody with his moronic behavior, and my laughing at the end would have been replaced with tears. Needless to say though, I`ve never seen Karma come back so fast.”

She said while she had her phone in her hand she was paying attention to the road the entire time and didn`t even see him flip her the bird, until after she arrived.

According to the Florida Highway patrol the pickup driver ran away and was later arrested, thanks to her video.

Jeffrey Travis was charged with leaving the scene of a traffic crash, careless driving, and failing to wear his seat belt. Court records show he has several previous arrests.

Comments on websites where the video has been posted have slammed both drivers for their behavior.

(Information from WTVT)

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