Red-light cameras will soon be completely gone from Texas.
Gov. Greg Abbott has signed into law a bill to prohibit cities from using photo systems to fine drivers for running red lights.
Previously HB1631, the new law took effect immediately.
Fines for running red lights at monitored intersections in the Lone Star State cannot exceed $75. Failure to pay can result in offenders being barred from renewing their vehicle registration.
In the days since the governor signed the bill into law communities around the state have acted, or are acting, to end their programs.
According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, as of this spring there were more than 50 communities throughout Texas that employed red-light cameras. At least six towns previously acted to outlaw use of automated ticketing programs.
A provision in the new law permits cities to continue current ticket system contracts until they expire. Many communities using the technology included “early out clauses” in their contracts. The clause permits them to nullify agreements if the state bans the devices.
Gov. Abbott’s administration released a report last fall outlining factors for eliminating red-light cameras. His office noted that while side-impact collisions have been reduced, there is a heightened likelihood of rear-end collisions due to sudden braking.
The governor’s staff also highlighted the cost to operate camera systems. The report said posting cameras at one intersection can cost $100,000.
“They are expensive, studies indicate that they may increase accidents where deployed, and they pose constitutional issues,” the report stated. “Texas should ban the use of these devices by preempting local authority to utilize them.”
Opponents said local governments should have the freedom to make their own decision on whether or not to use the programs.
Officials with the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association say the focus on the revenue-generating devices ignores the more logical and reasoned approach to roads and traffic: keep traffic moving in as safe a manner as possible.
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