Proposal looks to reduce red-light ticket fines

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OCOEE, Fla. - A proposal moving through the state capitol could cut the price of a red-light camera ticket in half, and Channel 9's Racquel Asa learned the discount is so steep it could force some cities to get rid of the cameras altogether.

The city of Ocoee is one of 75 jurisdictions in the state with red-light cameras. The cameras essentially pay for themselves with each ticket they issue drivers, officials said, but if the proposal is approved, drivers who are issued tickets would end up paying a lot less for them.

The violation fee would drop from $158 to $83.

Rebecca Lewis said her son got two violations last year.

"I think it'll solve two problems: It'll make people aware that they need to stop," said Lewis. "Secondly, it'll hurt their pocket a little bit."

But by saving drivers money, cities and counties would be losing out.

The reduced fine means Ocoee would only get to keep a third of what they get now per ticket, leaving cities with the bill instead of the drivers who run the lights.

The city would need to catch 20,000 red-light scofflaws a year just to pay for the program. And when looking at the number of violations issued last year, the city didn't even come close.

'There's not $500,000 in the budget for anything," said Lt. Brad Dreasher of the Ocoee red-light camera program.

Program officials said cuts to the fines would be enough for the city and other jurisdictions to possibly reconsider the program.

"They can't afford it if that's how they are going to run the program," said Dreasher. "So, I would imagine it would pretty much stop the red-light cameras."

It's what some leaders in Tallahassee have been trying to do for years.

The city of Ocoee told Channel 9 crashes have gone down since the cameras went up. But if the cameras end up coming down, the police department is worried some drivers would go back to bad habits.

Each camera in the city of Ocoee costs more than $4,700 to operate each month, officials said.