Red light cameras: should they stay or should they go? Lawmakers in Florida try to decide.
TAMPA, Fla. - Red light cameras are at the center of discussion in the State Capitol. They monitor dozens of intersection in the Bay Area, but some lawmakers want to see them taken out. "I'm a firm believe that, although they were sold as safety devices, that they've turned into back door tax increase on Floridians," said Senator Jeff Brandes. Brandes says red light cameras are geared toward making money, not improving safety. "In some cases, we're seeing an increase in accidents at intersections where red light cameras are placed," Brandes said. He is introducing legislation that would get rid of cameras all together. In the House, a Transportation and Highway Safety subcommittee is working on a bill that would reduce the fines from $158 to $83. Licet Mueller has paid the fine before. In fact she was caught twice in three weeks at the same intersection in Tampa. But she said it wasn't for running the light. "I didn't stop long enough at the red light before I turned right," Mueller said. She has changed her route from work to avoid the intersection. She also fears the cameras do more harm than good. "I think what they're doing is they're absolutely making people break way before they have to or break suddenly," said Mueller. Previous studies done by researchers at the University of South Florida concluded the cameras lead to more crashes. But in some cases there is no denying the cameras do catch people blatantly running red lights.