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Ticket penalties are still at recession highs and the Florida driver points system make it especially unfortunate to get pulled over in Tampa Bay.

Based onthe Florida Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles'most recent data specifically for city police departments in 2012, here are the top five cities in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Sarasota and Pasco counties where that situation is most likely.

  1. Tampa
  2. St. Petersburg
  3. Clearwater
  4. Sarasota
  5. Largo

Tampa may seem obvious. It has the highest population in the Bay area, the most highways passing through it and the highest volume of traffic on a daily basis.

But despite a 2012 traffic citation total of over 58,000 issued, speeding tickets only account for about 30 percent of all tickets handed out in Tampa. In the much smaller city of Largo, the 2012 report cites over 40 percent of traffic tickets being issued for speeding.

One of the most highly speed-monitored areas in Largo (or "speed traps" if you will) is along US 19 in the construction zone between Gulf to Bay and Whitney... and the majority of tickets are issued to drivers going more than 10 miles per hour over the limit -- even into the triple digits -- per Largo Police.

So based on Largo's size and traffic volume, if you ARE speeding, you are pretty likely to be pulled over. Back in Tampa, you still have a pretty good chance at getting caught too. In 2012, Tampa police issued nearly 18,000 speeding tickets, but that's 18,000 out of nearly 60,000 total tickets, a large percentage of which were issued in school zones.

What does all of this information mean to you? Basically: slow down. Yes, traffic citations ARE a source of revenue for the cities that issue them. But if you are bent on beating the system, Largo Police say that the best way is to justobey traffic laws and slow down.

The result will be no ticket for you, no money out of your pocket and a day on the roads with one less thing to worry about.

Running red lights or stop signs and failing to use turn signals also accounted for high ticket numbers in all of the top five cities. But in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Sarasota, the primary ticket generator in 2012 was red light cameras.

To learn more about our 10 News investigations surrounding red light cameras, click here.

Click herefor a link to the 2012 report database by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. You can check out where your city stacks up in issuing speeding tickets.

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