By Sallie James

    Boca Raton has discontinued its red light camera program in the wake of recent litigation that red-flagged the issuance of traffic tickets by a third party vendor.

    At a Feb. 10 council meeting, City Manager Leif Ahnell announced the city was ending its program. Council members, aware of the litigation, said they understood.

    As of Nov. 1, Boca Raton had stopped citing red-light runners in anticipation of a ruling from the 4th District Court of Appeal on a Hollywood case involving red light cameras. 

    The 4th DCA subsequently refused to rehear an October ruling that found Hollywood could not assign ticket-writing duties to third party vendor American Traffic Solutions, the same company that Boca had contracted with to issue traffic tickets.

    As a result, city officials decided to discontinue their own red light camera program. Palm Beach County, Hallandale Beach, Margate and Coral Springs have also scrapped red light camera programs.

    Boca Raton had installed the cameras at six intersections.

    “The 4th DCA upheld the decision that was against the city of Hollywood,” City Council member Scott Singer said. “That court decision stated cities should not delegate any component of the red light camera ticket issuance to third parties, so that would require cities to entirely use their staff for all phases of the ticket issuance process. It would be significantly more expensive.”

    As a result, Singer said he supported ending Boca’s program.

    Council member Robert Weinroth also supported terminating the program in light of the 4th DCA’s action.

    “It did what it needed to do, which was to increase the awareness of needing to stop at red lights,” Weinroth said. “It was well worth the program. Less than 10 percent of the people who got a ticket at the red light camera came back and got a second ticket.”

     The program wasn’t making the city any money anymore, either, Weinroth said.

    When Boca’s program first started, the city made more than $1 million during the first 15 months, but the profits dried up. All the money subsequently went to either American Traffic Solutions or the state, Weinroth said.

    Kate Coulson, a spokeswoman for American Traffic Solutions, deemed the program a success.

    “Boca Raton’s Red-Light Safety Camera Program was started with the goal of changing driver behavior and that’s exactly what it’s done,” Coulson wrote in an email. “Since the program’s launch in May 2012 violations per camera per day have fallen by over 80 percent.  We have enjoyed working with the city to achieve their public safety goals.”

    Hollywood is appealing the 4th DCA ruling to the Florida Supreme Court. Ú

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