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Study shows red light cameras decrease fatalities

SANTA ROSA COUNTY -- They may be annoying and no one likes getting one of those surprise traffic ticket in the mail, but a new study finds that red light cameras are saving lives.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports fatalities are down 27% in Florida.  The numbers of fatal accidents dropped from 83 in 2011 to 61 in 2012.

For some, red light cameras are nothing more than a way to make money.
"I think if they really want to make a difference, they'd hire more police officers, I mean nobody likes getting a ticket in the mail from a machine" said Phillip Labauve, Driver.

Floridas 27% drop in traffic fatalities from drivers running red lights outshined the national average of just 5% in 2012.

"Cautious drivers are going to notice the cameras anyway and if you're not speeding, you're not going to have any problems with it" said Clarence Tentman, Driver.

Most drivers know running red lights can be dangerous and deadly.  Rick Defilippo has mixed feelings about the cameras.  He believes they can actually lead to accidents as drivers slam on brakes to avoid a ticket.

"At the last second literally over the line, they hit the brakes and fortunately my car brakes quickly and I hit the brakes and it was fortunately about 6 to 9 inches between me and them" said Rick Defilippo, Driver.

Drivers caught running a red light could face a $158 dollar fine.  Those fines generated about $100 million dollars last year.  Gulf Breeze alone collected $129,000 dollars from its camera.

"It'd be nice to see statistically, what was saved in the way of lives and damages versus how much money was raked in by city governments" said Defilippo, Driver.

On average, the cameras capture a red light runner about once every 7 hours.