In September, it was reported to Tampa City Council members that Tampa’s red light cameras brought in $3.3 million in fines during the city’s recent fiscal year. That number is down compared to 2012. This breaks down to roughly 55,355 tickets that were issued this year compared to the 69,700 tickets issued in the year prior. Some believe that these numbers indicate that drivers are changing their habits resulting in greater public safety. Unfortunately, Tampa only collected $1.5 million of the $3.3 million generated as the rest of the money went to private contractors.
Red light cameras have become controversial in Florida as some local government entities have been accused of abusing the system to raise more revenue by either shortening yellow lights to catch more drivers or refusing to lengthen yellow lights as recommended by the Department of Transportation. One State Senator, Jeff Brandes, from St. Petersburg is moving forward with a bill to ban the cameras. Tampa now has 42 red light cameras in operation and places the money it receives from the fines in their day to day operations budget and in turn some of that money goes towards funding public safety operations.