JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Red-light cameras: they're an eye in the sky making sure you follow the rules of the road. And starting Monday, they'll be installed at 17 intersections in Jacksonville. Run a red light and you'll get a ticket in the mail for $158.
"That is our goal. We want to reduce traffic crashes," said Sheriff John Rutherford.
But in other cities around the state, drivers are fighting the tickets and winning. From July 2011 to June 2012, 20,000 Floridians challenged their ticket and 70 percent of them had their cases dismissed.
That begs the question: are the cameras really worth it? "It's certainly going to generate the revenue necessary to make it a cost-positive thing," said local attorney Randy Reep.
He says yes, the cameras will still turn a profit for the city. But he also says the tickets are easy to fight, because of unreliable cameras, no human witnesses, and the sheer volume of cases judges see.
And if you feel like you've been wrongly fined, he says you should call an attorney. "There are attorneys out there. My firm does it, others do it, who will make sure that you've exhausted every possible defense," said Reep.
But Sheriff Rutherford says the system Jacksonville will be using won't be so easy to fight. First of all, he says only a sworn police officer will review the video and issue a ticket. And drivers will be able to see their violations online.
The sheriff said, "Particularly when violators can go online and see themselves running the light six seconds before and six seconds after, that's pretty powerful stuff. So, no I don't think we'll have any problems."
If you're willing to fight the ticket, it may be worth it. Attorney fees for a case like this are generally a little cheaper than $158.
Even though thousands of cases are thrown out, there's no denying the cameras are effective safety tools. New numbers show a 56-percent reduction in crashes at intersections where the cameras have been installed.