Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Florida: Vendor Tries To Save Red Light Cameras Despite Accident Rise

Florida: Vendor Tries To Save Red Light Cameras Despite Accident Rise


Accidents are up at the intersections with red light cameras in Hollywood, Florida, but American Traffic Solutions (ATS) is desperate to keep the troubled system alive. City commissioners last week unanimously approved an ordinance to dump the controversial devices, only to back away from the resolution after ATS proposed a last-minute deal. The company will, in effect, pay the council to ignore the city police chief’s warning about the impact of automated ticketing since January 2011.

“Just so we’re clear, we looked at empirical data, we did a lot of thorough research on accidents and fatalities,” Chief Tomas Sanchez said on Wednesday. “We have also seen a dramatic increase in most intersections of twice as much rear end accidents occur after the red light camera implementation [compared] to before the red light camera implementation. As a whole, there have been more accidents at each intersection.”

The program has also failed to produce the promised amount of revenue to the city, largely due to state-mandated increases in yellow signal warning times that took effect on May 31, 2013. As most of the tickets were written for minor, split-second violations, the extra time has caused citation revenue to plunge. On top of this, a Florida Court of Appeals decision declared the process ATS used to review citations in Hollywood was illegal, so the city has been unable to collect fines since March.