Letters to the Editor

Fines from red-light cameras help fund trauma research

Real results in reducing red-light running — and the tragedies that ensue – stem from Red-Light Safety Camera programs.

Since July 2010, Florida’s trauma centers have received more than $23 million, and The Miami Project has received more than $7.6 million from paid red-light running violations. From each paid Red-Light Safety Camera Notice, $3 aids world-class research at The Miami Project, a multidisciplinary research team at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. There, researchers are working daily to find more-effective treatments and, ultimately, a cure for brain and spinal-cord injuries.

Because of this funding, we have been able to conduct pioneering research that may eventually help the paralyzed walk again. With the dramatic results we’ve seen in just the past few years, I feel unparalleled excitement and optimism that we will find that cure.

Our research efforts are paying off in the development of significant breakthroughs that are changing the way people are being treated. Also, I’ve learned some real and, frankly, disturbing facts of day-to-day life, as well. For example, auto accidents are the leading cause of the more than 10,000 spinal-cord injuries each year. That is particularly distressing to me because Florida is currently the third deadliest state for red-light-running collisions.

Thanks to red-light cameras, drivers are changing their behavior and reducing the number of violations and collisions across Florida. Results in the most recent state report completed for the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles mirror those found in the 2014 report by Florida Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability that announced a 49 percent decrease in fatal crashes at red-light safety camera intersections on state roads, saving an estimated 18 lives.

We know that red-light safety cameras are surrounded by debate and controversy. I ask for your support of this technology, because red-light running is dangerous and kills. We can do more to prevent it. In partnerships across the state, these programs are funding a critical health-service and research effort to those who are injured and their families.

Marc Buoniconti, president, The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, Miami