Are Red Light Cameras Worth It?

They're portraits of lawbreaking, depicting moments in time when drivers quite literally cross the line.

You can frame it up or, if you'd like, throw it away, but either way a red light camera ticket will cost you $158, a fine Rob McCoung calls outrageous.

"It just seems kind of cheap, you know?" he said. "It just don't seem right. It seems like an ATM machine for the city, is what it seems like."

But if that's true, the ATM is low on cash. Tuesday, state economists unveiled new figures showing Florida's red light camera fine collections have come in around 600 grand lower than expectations.

It turns out cities and counties don't want to invest in new cameras if lawmakers are pressured to repeal them.

"There's been a lot of discussion this year and last year that the legislature may do something to change it or alter it and there are some court cases that are still floating around out there," said economist Amy Baker.

Not only are many localities taking a cautious approach to putting the cameras up, but in areas that do have them it appears more and more people are getting the picture.

A lot of drivers say they're stopping for the red lights instead of chancing it. And now that fine collections are down, lawmakers have to find another way to get more money into the budget.

Highway taxes and more tolls might be the solution.

At the current rate, economists expect fines collected from red light cameras to continue tapering off until 2013 and then fall dramatically. That's assuming the law isn't repealed.


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