The latest update to a Red Light Camera Study by USF researchers found that the cameras fail to reduce fatal crashes.
"I think red light cameras have gradually created an environment of caution," said Faith Andrews-Bedford during a City Council. She explained why she believes the cameras promote safety.
"I thought that someone really needs to speak out about how these cameras really save lives and it's not just about the money." she said.
The study directly disputes a 2011 study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety that has been used by city officials on both sides of the Bay to explain why they have the cameras.
In the study the researchers replicated the IIHS study, then corrected what they called methodological errors. The result, according to the research, concluded that Red Light Cameras had no impact on reducing fatal red light runs or fatal crash rates.
Mayor Rick Kriseman has been a strong supporter of the cameras. He has said that for him, it is not about the money but he truly believes they promote safety.
In light of the new USF research, his administration is taking a fresh look at their position on the cameras.
"We are examining it against the new details that come up leaning heavily on the experts on our staff to do an analysis and understand what it means," said Kanika Tomalin, deputy Mayor of St. Petersburg.
City Council has long been gridlocked on the issue. The two new members, though, both say they will vote against the cameras.
"After doing lots of meticulous research," said Amy Foster, a member of city council. "I think the USF study was the last thing I needed to really feel comfortable that this decision is really not just based on public safety. It's about other factors as well."
"It's been pretty clear to me that the red light camera program is about generating revenue," said council member Darden Rice. "But I want to be fair and give a listen to any report that says there is a safety benefit. But, alas, we have yet another updated report that questions those claims."
Council Member Karl Nurse who has been a supporter of the cameras said he is now wavering on his position. He does not yet know how he will vote in the future.
When it comes to public opinion, a Bay News 9, Tampa Bay Times, WUSF Public Media poll shows 54 percent of St. Petersburg residents oppose the cameras.