Clearwater, Florida -- Starting Tuesday, three red light cameras that have prompted warnings for weeks will now snag you a $158 ticket.
The red light cameras are now up and running in Clearwater at:
- Gulf to Bay Boulevard and Belcher Road, Eastbound
- Gulf to Bay Boulevard and Belcher Road, Westbound
- Chestnut Street and Fort Harrison Avenue, Eastbound
The City of Clearwater's staff says its intersections average about 80 crashes a year because of red light runners. The two intersections where cameras have been set up have seen the most crashes over the past three years.
Leaders from other Bay Area cities with red light cameras have said they're intended to intimidate potential red light runners, convincing them to stop and improving safety. The primary goal of the cameras, they insist, is not money-making.
How do the cameras work? As you approach an intersection quickly, sensors set off the cameras, which record video and snap two photos.
The first photo shows your car outside the intersection with the light already red. That's the sort of "gotcha" photo -- showing that the light's red, and you're about to run it.
The second image shows your car in the intersection, with the red light still lit red above you.
The cameras are not triggered -- and you won't get a ticket -- if you're already in the intersection when the light turns red. That happens, for example, if you're "hovering" in the intersection waiting to make a left turn.
Every potential ticket is reviewed by a human being, and every day they judge many close calls as not deserving a ticket. So just because the camera's light flashes, you're not guaranteed to get a citation.
Grayson Kamm, 10 News