Florida is under fire for shortening yellow traffic lights below federal standards, resulting in a rise of traffic tickets.
An investigation by WTSP News 10 found that the lights were changed by just fractions of a second, but even small time changes can result in twice as many citations for running red lights.
They started the investigation after receiving reports of a "dangerously short light" in Hernando County, Fla. After they did the investigation, the county said it would inspect all of its intersection lights.
Citizens are angry about the time change because many of Florida's intersections use red light cameras, which many people believe are unsafe and unfair.
The red light cameras generate more than $100 million in revenue for 70 communities. Half of the revenue goes to state, and the rest is split amongst cities, counties and companies operating the cameras.
"Red light cameras are a for-profit business between cities and camera companies and the state," James Walker, executive director of the nonprofit National Motorists Association, said. "The (FDOT rule-change) was done, I believe, deliberately in order that more tickets would be given with yellows set deliberately too short."
Many communities are now protesting the shortened yellow lights and the red light cameras.
"The number of things wrong with this story defy our ability to list them all in this space," an editorial in Lebanon Daily News said. "Worst is that the Florida standards were set below standards set by the federal government."
It also questioned claims from authorities that the yellow lights are not about creating more revenue for the cities.
"They're all doing it for the money. They're doing it because they believe people won't notice; it's a tiny change in terms of time, but machinery reacts far more swiftly than man, and the camera eye is always watching.
Officials were relying on no one noticing that there was some fiddling going on. Someone noticed. Good. But not so good for the many, many people ($100 million dollars worth) of those whose tickets might be due to government cheating."