HALLANDALE BEACH Run a red light? Soon the city will know.
The city is negotiating with American Traffic Solutions, of St. Louis, Mo., to install red-light cameras at some intersections.
"I've been fighting for it for three years," Mayor Joy Cooper said. "It's for safety reasons."
The decision to negotiate, approved Wednesday by a 3-2 vote, comes as Pembroke Pines works on a similar initiative with American Traffic. Palm Beach County officials are considering it as well.
Although Orange County and Gulf Breeze near Pensacola already have the cameras, the state refuses to endorse them, saying they violate people's privacy.
Supporters, however, say the cameras are no different than those the state installed at tollbooths to catch drivers not paying mandated fees.
"I don't look at this as a right-to-privacy issue," Vice Mayor Bill Julian said. "When we go through the tollbooths, our pictures are taken anyway. In the interest of public safety, I can't wait to see them. The sooner, the better."
Commissioner Keith London, who opposed the decision, said cameras would cause more rear-end accidents by drivers who prematurely slam on their brakes to avoid running red lights.
"The issue didn't come up during a public safety workshop," London said. "It came up during a budget meeting. This is strictly about revenues."
He said the city should instead concentrate on improving intersections and synchronizing lights to help move traffic smoothly.
London said after the city works out a contract with American Traffic, it would pass a law allowing the cameras and resulting fine collections.
Still being resolved are how many cameras there would be and where they would be installed. Cooper said two key locations are the intersections of Hallandale Beach Boulevard with Dixie Highway and 10th Avenue.
Cooper said the cameras would be installed on private property since the state won't allow them on its rights of way.
Instead of a traffic citation, violators would be notified by mail of a city code violation and told to pay a $100 fine, Cooper said. Drivers wouldn't lose points on their license because the citations would be issued against vehicles involved in the violation, not their drivers.
"This will teach people to be better drivers," Julian said.