Tuesday, May 21

Boynton Beach considering speed cameras near schools. How much it cost you

Drivers speeding past a school in Boynton Beach could face a $100 fine after its City Council approved a new ordinance establishing speed detection cameras near schools.

House Bill 657, which lawmakers passed in 2023, allows municipalities to establish speed cameras. It allows cities, like Boynton Beach, to issue fines if a car moves faster than 10 mph over the speed limit near a school.

The state law requires the city will receive at least 60% of the fine and at least 17% of the fine will go to the county school district for security initiatives and crossing guard recruitment.

A city spokesperson said a camera vendor called Blue Line Solutions studied the traffic near four schools at no cost. The company based in Tennessee found the total percentage of drivers at schools traveling at 11 mph over the speed limit from 7:10 a.m. to 3:05 p.m. ranged from 1.99% to $16.87% at four elementary schools.

Traffic data show a majority, 54 out of 140, crashes near a school happened near Freedom Shores Elementary School from 2021 to 2023, and 24 had an injury. Rolling Green had 22 crashes over the last three years, the second most crashes at schools in Boynton Beach.

The largest amount of speeders found during five days was in front of Freedom Shores Elementary School at 3,971 times, theoretically creating $397,100 in fines.

According to a draft ordinance, the fines would get issued during or around the school day. The city would also hold a public awareness campaign for 30 days before enforcing the fines as required by state law.

Boynton Beach Police Chief Joe Degiulo said his department runs traffic enforcement twice a day in nine different school zones. He said the department could better utilize their resources with the cameras.

“We believe at the Boynton Beach Police Department that these school zone cameras would be an effective tool for the enforcement of school zone speeds,” Degiulo said. “This would alleviate some of that extra attention that we would normally put where our traffic unit as well as our police officers.”

He also said the cameras would help protect kids.

City commissioners approved the ordinance at first reading Tuesday night, which means commissioners could make it law at an another meeting.

Commissioner Angela Cruz, who was the one no vote, said she voted against the ordinance because she didn’t like the process the city could use to pick the private company or companies that would supply the city with the cameras and enforce speeding laws.

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