JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- When night falls the cameras flash at some of Jacksonville's most dangerous intersections.
Soon, 17 cameras will be used to monitor traffic in an effort to prevent accidents by reducing red light violators. Those cameras flash when drivers break the law, and some drivers tell Action News that flash is distracting.
Michael McGuire calls them money makers in a dangerous disguise.
"When the flashes come on, it can be very distracting. They go off in every direction and drivers don't know what to do."
McGuire is an activist with the National Motorists Association, which has taken a stance against red light cameras, claiming there are safer, alternative ways to reduce violations, such as extending the length of yellow lights.
McGuire says cameras are often selected as a method of control because the equipment is free to taxpayers, and the $158 fine is split between the companies that install the cameras and the city.
While the cameras could earn the city as much as $1.5 million in the next fiscal year, McGuire believes the cost is much bigger. He says flashing lights put drivers at risk.
While the lights themselves don't distract Bill Bishop he says his driving habits have changed since getting a ticket in Daytona last year. Just knowing the cameras are there makes him nervous.
"I will slam on my breaks to try to not get a $150 ticket, not worrying if someone in back of me can stop."
Bishop is the AAA Spokesman for northeast Florida. While the group is not against efforts to save lives, Bishop says reviews on the effectiveness of red light cameras are split, and he's not a proponent of any effort to use red light cameras as a revenue generating opportunity.
Bishop says while statistics show cameras do reduce side impact crashes, they don't necessarily save lives.
"All it does is change the type of accident that happens at the intersection. You're going to get a lot more of the neck injuries those type of things versus a very serious accident if you get t-boned."
The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office tells Action News it is working to educate the community about cameras to prevent citizens from being surprised or distracted.