Broward News

Tamarac Suspends Red-Light Camera Program for Now

The City of Tamarac has decided to turn off their red-light cameras, for the time being, putting a temporary end to traffic lights taking photos of cars at ten different intersections throughout the city. Since 2013, when the cameras first went operational, there have been 23,756 violations in total. 

Tamarac joins other cities that have ended their red-light camera programs, including Hallandale Beach, Pembroke Pines, Coral Springs, Margate, and Boca Raton. In March, Fort Lauderdale also suspended their red light camera programs but insisted that they would be back up soon. 

"These red-light cameras save lives," Mayor Jack Seiler said on at the time. "Based on the court rulings, the system needs to be tweaked. At the end of the day, you'll see some red light camera program in place."

On Monday, Fort Lauderdale City Manager Lee Feldman told New Times that the red-light camera program in Fort Lauderdale "remains suspended."

Since August of 2013, Tamarac has had a contract with Arizona-based American Traffic Solutions, a company that calls itself "the largest provider of road safety camera programs to America’s largest cities." But the program has been a polarizing one since its inception, with opponents arguing that the program was just a quick money-grab for cities.

Opponents also argued that ATS was the one reviewing video of cars running through the intersections and then sending the images to the cops throughout South Florida. Local police would then send out tickets to supposed violators. This, critics said, was a violation of state law.

And in March, a couple of Broward judges agreed, saying that it was indeed a violation of state law, and had more than 24,000 red-light tickets totaling $6.3 million tossed

Tamarac has had a Broward Sheriff's officer review the images made by the cameras, who then would decide whether or not the drivers in the images were in violation. 

A report in 2014 revealed that the red-light ticket program was costing Tamarac money in additional administrative and legal costs. While the city made $239,966.95 revenue from collecting violations, the cameras themselves cost the city $277,637.54 in administrative costs and equipment, the report says

In March, Tamarac's red-light special magistrate dismissed all pending red-light violation cases. This led to city officials suspending the program on Thursday, saying that there needs to be more clarification in how the citations can continue without going against the court's ruling. 

The contract with ATS is expected to expired in another 13 months.
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Chris Joseph
Contact: Chris Joseph