For those tumbleweed towns and third-rate cities that have nothing to do but rob motorists, this is not the news they want to hear.

Lloyd Dunkelberger of Halifax Media Service reports that a new independent state report produced in Florida showing that crashes have increased at intersections with red-light cameras will add momentum to an effort to ban the cameras’ use in Florida during the upcoming legislative session.

The new report from the Legislature’s Office of Program Policy Analysis and Governmental Accountability (OPPAGA) found that side-angle crashes — most commonly associated with red-light running — are up 22 percent and rear end collisions are up 35 percent.

The report also found that fine collections have increased 200 percent since 2010, with the state and local governments taking in $119 million in the last budget year. Some $56 million of that total goes to city and county governments, which share the revenue with the red-light camera companies.

Senate Transportation Chairman Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, who requested the report, said it confirmed his contention that safety is not the primary concern for red-light camera proponents.

“I have consistently argued that red-light cameras are not being used for safety but are about generating revenue,” Brandes. “This report clearly illustrates the deficiencies inherent in red-light camera programs.”

Rep. Frank Artiles, R-Miami, who is sponsoring a House measure calling for a moratorium on new traffic cameras, agreed with Brandes.

“The red-light camera program really boils down to local governments profiteering and balancing their budgets on the backs of hard-working Floridians,” Artiles said.

The crash data is incomplete because many cities are not reporting their crash data at the red-light camera intersections to the state. But based on data on state roads where counties have installed cameras, OPPAGA reported an increase in crashes at the state-road intersections.

Of the local governments that responded to the survey, nearly eight out of every 10 said they were making a profit off the cameras, although 16 percent reported trouble in generating enough funds to pay the camera vendors. Most reported using the excess revenue for general government purposes, with 14 percent dedicated to public safety.

Let's be blunt. Red-light cameras are a scam. It's an artificial tax foisted upon the public under the guise of safety. If you agree, send this blog to your legislators and tell them it's time to put an end to it.