Gotcha! Red light cameras here to stay in Boynton, Pines and maybe Sunrise too

Those controversial red-light cameras are still getting the green light in some cities.

will turn them on again Sept. 1 after an eight-month hiatus, making Boynton the with cameras.

Red-light runners will get a two-week warning period, with drivers getting a warning letter instead of a fine through Sept. 14.

Boynton has 15 red-light cameras at seven intersections, including Gateway Boulevard and Congress Avenue and Woolbright Road and Congress Avenue.

Critics say the cameras are just another way for cities to make money, but fans say they help save lives.

With their red-light camera programs in the past few years over and cost overruns, only four cities in Broward County still operate : Sunrise, Davie, Tamarac and West Park.

Sunrise got its cameras in 2010 and never turned them off.

Commissioners in Sunrise will vote late this month on whether to keep the cameras around for another three years.

If the answer is yes, red-light runners caught by the cameras would be on the hook for a $158 fine through September 2020 and possibly beyond, if the contract gets another extension.

Pembroke Pines turned off its cameras in 2013, but come Aug. 25.

“Keep control of your car and don’t run a red light and you’ll have no problems,” Pembroke Pines Mayor Frank Ortis said.

People are more careful when they drive through Pembroke Pines because they know the city has red-light cameras, Ortis said.

“We used to have 26 cameras,” he said. “Now we’re only putting up 10 [because driver behavior has changed]. We want to save lives. And if we’ve saved one, we’ve done our job.”

Sunrise commissioners debated the camera program Tuesday night, saying they need more data on whether the cameras have saved lives before extending the contract with the vendor.

Sunrise Mayor Mike Ryan says he believes in the cameras.

“Based on the data we’ve seen, I’m convinced that it’s reducing crashes in the city of Sunrise as well as what we’re seeing nationwide,” he told the Sun Sentinel before the meeting. “And it’s reducing the most severe crashes that result in spinal cord injuries and death.”

Sunrise Commissioner Neil Kerch told the Sun Sentinel he had mixed feelings and, before making a final decision, wants to find out whether the cameras truly do reduce accidents.

Sunrise Commissioner Mark Douglas said he’d end the program if he could.

“It’s a private business money grab using the backs of municipalities,” he told the Sun Sentinel.

Douglas also said he wants to make sure the city is not losing money on the program, because 52 percent of the profits go to the state and 20 percent to the vendor.

Sunrise pays American Traffic Solutions $575,000 a year for 13 cameras at 10 intersections, city records show.

“The math doesn’t make sense,” Douglas said.

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