Red light cameras may reduce tragedies

Published On: Aug 30 2012 04:26:21 PM EDT
Updated On: Aug 30 2012 08:07:52 PM EDT

The number of fatal crashes in Jacksonville has risen steeply in recent months. Police are hoping their new red light camera program will help bring those numbers down.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

The number of fatal crashes in Jacksonville has risen steeply in recent months.

Thirty more people have lost their lives in traffic crashes in the River City this year compared to this time last year, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

Police are hoping a their new red light camera program will help bring those numbers down.

The family of Jarrod Peterkin is hoping the same. The 17-year-old was hit and killed earlier this month by a driver who ran a red light as he tried to cross an intersection on his bike.

Ashlee Peterkin, Jarrod's sister, said she was excited to hear about Jacksonville's new red light camera system, one that she believes could have prevented her brother's death.

"If he would have known that this is going to be more extensive than just, 'I ran through the light,' or thought twice ... then that would have changed the world," Peterkin said.

Jarrod was one of 94 people killed in traffic collisions this year in Duval County. Last year at this time, that number was 64.

JSO is hoping 25 new red light cameras at 18 of the cities busiest intersections will bring those numbers down.

Police aren't planning to put a red light camera at the intersection of Kernan Boulevard and McCormick Road, where Jarrod was hit and killed. But they believe the ones they are planning to install could help prevent another tragedy.

Sue Holley, executive director of the Northeast Florida Safety Council, said the cameras could be extremely helpful.

"It may take a little while and people getting some tickets before that happens, but I think it will," Holley said.

For Ashlee Peterkin, it's hope that another family won't have to feel the kind of loss hers has.

"Now that it is in place, I'm hoping that somebody else's child won't be affected," she said.

The red light camera system is expected to be in place by January.

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