A court upheld Aventura’s program, which relies on police, not the private contractor, to make decisions about ticketing motorists. But the court wants the supreme court to decide the issue more finally.
In a surprising and radical shift, Palm Coast City Manager Jim Landon used harsh words to describe the city’s red-light camera program, saying that while the system makes intersections safer, its harsh punishments are out of proportion with the crime, and Palm Coast’s drivers–and the city’s image–are suffering as a result. But he is less clear on how to improve the system, which he does not want dismantled.
The Palm Coast City Council will forego adopting steeper fines, of up to $408, for red-light camera tickets, but it has yet to find a solution to a problem particular to the city: the large number of people who pay their tickets but whose payments appear never to register with ATS, the company managing–and profiting from–the system, causing drivers headaches and additional costs.
A South Florida lawmaker filed legislation Friday to repeal the law allowing the use of red light cameras, following a report earlier this week that says intersections where they’re used have seen drops in crashes in most places.
Florida’s new law legalizing red-light cameras ensures that state coffers are on the take. But it does not address the fundamental problems with spy-and-snap cameras. There are innumerable reasons to ban them. There’s only one reason to keep them, and it’s a slimy one: money.
Rather than address questions raised by County Commission Chairman Barbara Revels, the Palm Coast Council invented a claim that the county wanted to enable law-breaking, unsafe drivers, and dismissed Revels’s request to reconsider installing spy cameras on State Road 100.
The Palm Coast City Council’s agreement to increase the city’s traffic spy cameras to up to 52 is backed by no crash data and no scientific evidence that the 10 existing cameras improve safety, but Palm Coast stands to make up to $437,000 a year from the new scheme.
The 5th District Court of Appeal in Daytona Beach on Friday found Orlando’s red-light traffic cameras illegal before they were standardized by a state law in 2010. Palm Coast’s set up was similar to Orlando’s. But the decision does not affect the current camera set up or the fine structure.
American Traffic Solutions, which runs Palm Coast’s red-light traffic cameras, will make up to $4,250 per camera per month, while Palm Coast makes just $700. Still, the Palm Coast City Council is ready to sign a seven-year deal.
If successful, the lawsuit would have far-reaching consequences as it seeks reimbursements for all ticket fines, which in Palm Coast exceed $1.35 million since 2008.