TAMPA - Norman McClam didn't even realize he ran a red light, but he sure noticed the $158 ticket in his mailbox.
A red-light camera mounted at 50th Street and Adamo Drive in East Tampa photographed him allegedly breaking the law. It just happened to be the camera that caught more red-light runners than any other in Tampa -- more than 3,000 in a four-month period.
"I don't think it's fair and I really don't think it's safe," said McClam.
Law enforcement says what's not safe are the flagrant violations captured by cameras throughout the Tampa Bay area.
The video doesn't lie. At Fowler and Nebraska avenues, the camera shows a pickup truck running a red light and barely missing a school bus making a turn.
At Lois and Hillsborough avenues, three cars are in the intersection while the light is red. Only one leaves the intersection without serious body damage.
Tampa police traffic supervisor Carl Giguere can hardly believe some of the driving caught on camera.
"Viewing the video, it would look like there wasn't even a red light there to begin with," said Giguere. "They just go right through the intersection with no regard, not even slowing down."
With more than 100 unblinking cameras around the bay area, you're more likely than ever to pay a penalty for that kind of driving. But where are you most likely to get caught?
In St. Petersburg, be especially alert on 38th Avenue North at 34th Street, where 2,850 tickets were issued in a four-month period around the first of this year.
In Bradenton, the camera on Manatee Avenue at 15th Street West caught 2,071 drivers--- making up half of all the recorded violations in the city.
In Lakeland, slightly fewer than 1,000 red-light runners were caught at Florida Avenue and Memorial Boulevard.
In New Port Richey, at the intersection of US Highway 19 and Gulf Drive, 2,209 drivers were ticketed.
With all the distractions at a suburban mall, it's no surprise that Brandon Town Center Drive at West Brandon Boulevard caught the most violators, with 3,354 tickets going out.
"We firmly believe this is making Hillsborough County a safer place," said Troy Morgan, a sheriff's deputy in the county.
Morgan has heard the complaints that red-light cameras are just money-makers for local government. But he points out that as the cameras get people to change their driving habits, the number of violations will decrease, along with the revenue.
At intersections like Habana and Sligh avenues in Tampa, where the red-light runners are particularly flagrant, law enforcement actually tried to reduce the number of tickets they issued by doubling the number of traffic signals at the intersections.
That intersection generates a relatively low number of tickets. But, it's a crossroad that motorists might want to avoid, if only for their own safety.
Some studies have shown that intersections with red-light cameras see an increase in rear-end accidents while at the same time reducing the more deadly head-on or T-bone collisions. In any case, red-light cameras are going up at more intersections every day in Florida.