RED LIGHT CAMERAS
NAPLES — Mike Mogil was mostly ambivalent about Collier County’s red-light cameras — that is, until his wife received a citation from one.
Now, after studying the issue and helping his wife, Barbara, get out of her ticket, the 64-year-old meteorologist and math tutor is hoping his work will help bring the cameras down for good.
“I am very concerned that we are on a very, very slippery slope,” Mogil said. “I am definitely part of the red-light camera brigade.”
It all started in mid-January when Mogil’s wife came home, believing she’d just received a ticket for running a red light while driving north on Collier Boulevard at the intersection with Golden Gate Parkway.
“I immediately went into questioning mode, because as a scientist, that’s what I do,” Mogil said.
Mogil said his wife told him that she was driving about 45 mph — the speed limit on that section of Collier Boulevard — when the light turned yellow. Believing that she couldn’t stop in time, Mogil’s wife sped up.
“She said ‘Well, the yellow was awfully quick,’” Mogil said. “That was the trigger. I said ‘Well, maybe it was awfully quick.’”
Mogil went out to the intersection with a stop watch and a video camera, and measured 10 cycles, he said.
According to county guidelines, yellow lights should be on one second for every 10 miles per hour of the speed limit. With a 45-mph limit on Collier Boulevard, the yellow light should have been on for 4.5 seconds.
Instead, it was only about 3.8 seconds, Mogil said.
“My wife’s light, that one was way off,” he said.
Mogil timed the yellow lights at four other intersections with red-light cameras, and found them to be timed appropriately. But he said he drove around town and found several other intersections that weren’t timed properly.
A special magistrate dropped Barbara Mogil’s ticket recently after the county conceded that the light was improperly timed. Officials are now in the process of checking the yellow-light timing around the county, Collier County transportation spokeswoman Connie Deane said.
“They have checked the one that was in question, where Mr. Mogil’s wife got a ticket,” Deane said. “That one has been adjusted.”
Mike Mogil said he wasn’t trying to be a good Samaritan, but if his work helps rid the county of red-light cameras, he would be fine with that. More importantly, he’s got a good story for his math students.
“I’ve got kids who say ‘when am I ever going to use this math again?’” Mogil said. “Here was a perfect example.”