Palm Beach Traffic Cameras Are A Big Bust

Oct 30, 2012 Posted by in Distracted Driving, Motor Vehicle Accidents and Safety, Personal Injury

It seems those “Big Brother” traffic light cameras at Palm Beach intersections – intended to bust speeding drivers – are turning out to be a bust themselves.

First came a storm of controversy when they were installed, followed by a wave of lawsuits challenging their constitutionality.

Now it appears the cameras aren’t generating the business government officials were hoping for, according to the Broward-Palm Beach New Times:

Those traffic light cameras that flash two seconds after you’ve run the red were supposed to pay big for local governments.

Instead, not so much is the case. According to county administrators, the county owes more than what it’s taking in.

The 10 cameras that were installed at five intersections throughout the county last year have generated $308,877.

However, the county owed American Traffic Solutions $456,957 for that period. Since the county’s contract doesn’t require them to pay the difference until the cameras turn a profit, they won’t necessarily lose money. The traffic light cameras won’t make any either.

“We can’t lose money,” County Administrator Bob Weisman said. “We aren’t making any money off of this process either, because we aren’t generating the citations that were expected.”

From the outset, the red light photo system has come under fire. A number of lawsuits were filed alleging the cameras are unconstitutional, in part because the citations they generate carry a different penalty than manual citations written by police officers.

In August, a state appeals court upheld the cameras’ constitutionality. But the legal war rages on, with other challenges pending.

Each camera would have to issue 64 tickets a month to cover the $4,750-per-camera fee that American Traffic Solutions charges each month to run the system. Two county lights have never reached that 64-ticket threshold.

But Palm Beach County officials say the point of the cameras is to increase safety, not raise money.

Meanwhile, be sure to smile the next time you race through a yellow light in West Pam Beach. Big Brother is still watching.

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