Future red-light cameras
The next eight red-light running cameras are slated to be installed in early 2010 at the following approaches:
■ Southbound on Airport-Pulling Road at U.S. 41
■ Eastbound on Seagate Drive at U.S. 41
■ Northbound on Airport-Pulling Road at Pine Ridge Road
■ Southbound on Airport-Pulling Road at Pine Ridge Road
■ Eastbound on 111th Avenue at U.S. 41
■ Westbound on Immokalee Road at U.S. 41
■ Westbound on Immokalee Road at Airport-Pulling Road
■ Northbound on Airport Road at Radio Road
Ben Hubschman has no love for red-light runners.
That being the case, the 29-year-old doesn’t deny that his car was caught on camera running a red light in mid-November.
Yet Hubschman doesn’t believe he should have to pay the $62.50 fine that was dished out by the red-light running camera and approved by a Collier County sheriff’s deputy.
“When I received my ticket, at first I was confused because I’m a pretty safe driver,” Hubschman said. “I went online eventually and watched the video. When I watched the video I knew immediately it wasn’t me driving.”
Believing the citation was wrong, Hubschman did what any 20-something with an ounce of computer savvy would do — he created a page on the social networking site Facebook dedicated to bringing down the controversial cameras. As of Friday, Hubschman had 682 “friends” on his page, “Collier County Citizens Against Red Light Camera Tickets.”
He said he knows about 50 of them. The rest he ascribes to a “snowball effect.”
The page is for civil discussion, not name calling and fighting, Hubschman said.
Hubschman received his citation in the mail in early December. The infraction appears to have occurred on Nov. 19, he said. Hubschman said he is “99 percent sure” his friend was driving his car at the time, and he was in the passenger seat.
“When we went through the light, I said ‘You just got me a ticket,’” Hubschman said. “Sure enough, he did get me a ticket. There was a traffic infraction in my case, but I wasn’t the one who committed it.”
Though he was aware that the county had installed red-light cameras during the last year, Hubschman said he didn’t know much about them until he received his citation. That’s when he started researching, and what he read he didn’t like.
When a deputy pulls someone over for running a red light, the driver gets the ticket. When the cameras catch someone running a red light, the vehicle owner gets a civil citation, whether they were driving or not.
“That’s unfair,” Hubschman said.
Hubschman hopes to eventually get enough followers to his Facebook page to get a petition started. He would then present that to Collier County commissioners.
“I’m thinking we’re going to need some serious numbers, like 10,000 signatures, to have any impact,” Hubschman said.
That probably won’t be enough to get the cameras down, Commissioner Frank Halas said when told of Hubschman’s plans. He said he doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about.
“He’s not getting any points charged to his license,” Halas said of Hubschman. “All he has to do is pay the fine and collect from his friend if his friend was driving the car. The friend should step up to this and say ‘This is $62.50 in cash. I’m sorry I ran a red light and you were in the passenger seat.’”
Collier commissioners approved the use of red-light cameras in April 2008. The first two cameras were installed at the intersection of Airport-Pulling and Pine Ridge roads in April 2009, and ticketing began at the end of May.
Ten more cameras have since been installed at major intersections around the county.
Through November, 4,232 citations from the cameras have been approved, Collier County’s transportation department reported. The cameras have generated $622,487, of which $179,862 went to Arizona-based American Traffic Solutions (ATS), which is providing the cameras.
The next eight cameras are slated to be installed in early 2010, county transportation spokeswoman Connie Deane said.
Hubschman — an artist whose top “friend” on his MySpace page is Ron Paul, the libertarian former presidential candidate — said he’s never really engaged in anything as political as his current fight against red-light cameras.
“I’ve never been involved in starting an advocacy group before,” Hubschman said. “But I do feel that someone needed to do something.”
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Connect with Ryan Mills at www.naplesnews.com/staff/ryan_mills/