- By Alexandra Seltzer Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
The first quarterly report since Boynton Beach ’s city leaders reinstated the red-light camera program is in. The big takeaway: 9,022 red lights run compared to the 6,144 for the same time period the year before when cameras were also used.
That’s a 47 percent increase.
But what that increase means is in the eye of the beholder.
Camera opponent Commissioner Joe Casello says it confirms his opinion — the program doesn’t improve driver behavior.
But program proponent Mayor Steven Grant won’t submit to that. He plans to ask Boynton Beach Police for the number of repeat offenders because if they aren’t “re-offending” then driver behavior is changing, he said.
However, Grant added: “I think it will take some time where we get to a point where the actual number goes down because it’s just so many people who run red lights in the city and in the area.”
Either way, the cameras are here to stay through at least 2021 per the city’s contract with camera vendor American Traffic Solutions.
Boynton Beach is the only city in Palm Beach County to continue the program. Commissioners are expected to discuss the report at Tuesday’s public meeting.
Commissioners voted in August to bring the program back after an eight-month hiatus. The police offered a two-week warning period before the program went live Sept. 15. As part of the program, ATS is giving the city 23 license plate readers for free. Boynton will have to use them through May 2021 or else pay a $10,000 early termination fee.
The fine for running a red light at an intersection with a camera is $158 with no points added to the driver’s record. The City gives $83 per violation to the state and keeps the remaining $75 to run the program. City officials said the program nets about $250,000 annually after expenses .
Casello requested the quarterly report from police to be transparent because he said it is a revenue generator.
“By giving the quarterly report we’re seeing how drivers’ behaviors are being changed — it isn’t,” he said. “It’s not a program that works.”
Casello said he plans to ask police for the number of rear-end crashes since the program re-started.
“Opponents of red light cameras say they cause more rear-end collisions,” he said.
The cameras are at seven intersections. The one with the most red-light runners is Federal Highway and Southeast 23rd Avenue, according to police.
From Sept. 1 to Dec. 12 police issued 1,317 warnings and 7,705 notice of violations. During that same time period in 2016, police issued 6,144 notice of violations, according to the report.