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Texas Lawmakers Consider Removing Red-Light Cameras

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At a time when red-light camera tickets are increasing in Texas, two red-light camera bills could reach the state senate for consideration soon.

One such bill would ban red-light cameras statewide, while the other would prevent county and state officials from withholding vehicle registration due to outstanding red-light camera tickets.

 

What are Red-Light Cameras?

Red-light cameras that are set to photograph vehicles entering intersections after the light has turned red have been used for decades to try and stop accidents at busy intersections. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, more than 20 U.S. states and 400 cities allow the use of red-light cameras.

In Texas, red-light cameras are set so that only those vehicles that enter the intersection after the light has turned red are photographed. Vehicles entering the intersection on yellow, and still in the intersection when the light turns red are not photographed.

 

Pros and Cons

Texas A&M University researchers evaluated 132 sites in seven jurisdictions to produce a 2010 report on the effectiveness of red-light cameras in Texas. They found that red-light cameras:

  • Substantially reduce red light violation rates.
  • Reduce crashes that result from red light running.
  • Typically reduce right-angle collisions.
  • May result in an increase of rear-end collisions.
  • May or may not reduce total crashes, but rarely result in a substantial increase.
  • Usually reduce crash severity by reducing the incidence of right-angle crashes.

 

Proponents of the use of red-light cameras in Texas say the main reason for them is to increase safety at intersections, while opponents insist that their primary purpose is to generate revenue. In Fort Worth, 58 red-light cameras are in place at 44 intersections, and officials say crashes at these locations have dropped 58 percent since 2008, when the program began. City records show that the cameras have generated more than $8.9 million in fines, according to a Fort Worth Star Telegram report.

3 Comments

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  1. Billy says:
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    State politicians are just playing games with the voters. Texas red light cameras are not going anywhere. Red light camera companies are giving politicians, cities, and the state too much money for them to disappear. The cameras are here to stay (unless we vote incumbents out of office over the issue.) One thing a politician likes more than money it’s votes.

  2. byron says:
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    Article seems a little light on the “con” side. Why not talk about the numerous studies that have been peer reviewed and are far more extensive than TTI study which was so demonstrably flawed they had to completely redo the study methodology the next time around to get a positive result? Why not talk about the Rice University study that Mayor White tried to bury that proved accidents doubled in Houston when the cameras were installed? Or the Chronicle investigation that accidents declined 16% when the cameras weer shut off? Why not mention the due process issues with issuing someone a civil penalty for what is a state crime and depriving them of their right to a trial by jury? Why not mention that a Texas judge recently declared the entire program unconstitutional leading to Richardson’s cameras being shut off? Why not mention that every time Texans get to vote to bring the cameras down they come down? This is either deliberately one sided or horribly researched. You should also mention that camera tickets are unenforceable in Texas. Find out more at http://www.trashyourticket.com

  3. up arrow

    Texas residents need to call and write their state Representatives, Senators, and the Governor to politely but clearly insist that legislation to totally ban traffic enforcement cameras becomes law.

    http://www.house.state.tx.us/resources/frequently-asked-questions/#who_rep
    http://www.senate.state.tx.us/75r/Senate/Members.htm#FYI
    https://gov.texas.gov/contact/

    James C. Walker, National Motorists Association