TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - State and local governments are cashing in on red light camera tickets. Just shy of a million were written in the year that ended June 30.
Some lawmakers tried to get rid of the cameras this past spring, however, the cameras will remain but will be a touch more friendly to motorists.
With each flash of a red light camera, $158 flows to state and local governments. We met motorist Steven Walker opening his wallet.
"Actually, I don't think I did," said Walker, referring to his fine, "because how they had the light and of course with the cameras, you just never know."
Eighty-three dollars of Walker's fine will go to the state. The other $75 will go to local government.
The number of red light tickets being written in Florida has increased fourfold in just three years.
This past year, lawmakers tried to require standard yellow light times based on the speed limit at red light intersections. It didn't pass.
Attorney Frank Ranier is skeptical.
"I'm not accusing anybody of anything, but you know in my experience that's what I've seen," said Ranier, when asked if he thinks the duration of yellow lights has been shortened.
A study by the Department of Highway Safety said side-impact crashes are down 43 percent at red light intersections. Statewide traffic crashes are at a 5-year low, which is why the Florida League of Cities argued against getting rid of the cameras.
"We actually hope that it's a declining revenue source," said Scott Dudley, of the Florida League of Cities. "We hope that over time we don't have to keep writing tickets for that, because basically that would mean that people are stopping when they're supposed to stop at red lights."
Lawmakers did make it harder to ticket right turn violators. They also doubled the time motorists have to appeal the citations, that helps the owner of the car if someone else was driving.
This past year, the number of tickets was just 71 short of a million. The fines raised almost $157,988,000.
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