110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
By Jen Horton
posted Dec 25, 2012 - 3:20:17pm
After four years of study and discussion, the City of DeLand has nixed red-light cameras.
It was a long road to that decision.
In 2008, the city opened the discussion about the cameras.
In 2009, the city contracted with LaserCraft, which was later bought out by American Traffic Solutions. American Traffic Solutions used flash photography, and the city wanted flashless photography — which Sensys offered, so the city chose to leave American Traffic Solutions and contracted with Sensys.
“We did a road trip to cities that used flash-photography, and it was really distracting,” City Commissioner Leigh Matusick said. “We didn’t want that for DeLand.”
At last, all the ducks were in a row. The deal was: The vendor would install the cameras and capture violations for an officer to review. After the review, an officer could approve the violation, and the vendor would send the car owner a ticket. There would be no cost to the city, and if there was any money made, it would be used to fund one-time expenses.
Throughout 2010-11, the Florida Legislature examined red-light cameras, deemed them legal, and then considered repealing the decision.
DeLand watched carefully, and put the plans on hold while the state decided if the cameras could be used.
Florida decided they could be, but a big chunk of money was going to head to the state. The ticket price was set at $158, with $83 going to the state.
Sensys found five intersections in the DeLand area at which red lights were run at least 10 times in 24 hours.
In 2011, the city gave Sensys its final stamp of approval. The cameras were to be installed, and used to give warnings to violators for 30 days.
Mayor Bob Apgar said the goal was to change the behavior of drivers.
Because of permitting challenges, the company was not able to meet the timelines it had given the city for camera installation. The city and Sensys amicably terminated the contract.
Then the city contracted with Gatso USA.
Gatso studied the intersections again. For the study, test cameras were put up for 24-hour increments, and immediately removed.
The data showed there were not enough violations to justify cameras.
Police Chief Bill Ridgway told the commission that if the problem didn’t exist, then his recommendation was to terminate the contract. The company is in agreement, and if red-light-running and T-bone car crashes become a major concern in the future, the city will have the option to take action.
City Manager Michael Pleus said the city believes the numbers went down in direct response to public awareness of the problem.
No red-light cameras were installed in the city.
The commission unanimously voted to terminate the contract.
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