Bill would ban red light cameras in Texas

A state lawmaker has introduced a bill that would prohibit red light cameras in Texas.

HOUSTON - A state lawmaker has introduced a bill that would prohibit red light cameras in Texas.

A hearing was held for Senate Bill 88 in Austin on Wednesday.

Representatives from police departments that use the technology, like the Sugar Land Police Department, attended the hearing to fight the legislation.

“Really, I think the number one change is its changing driver behavior,” said Sugar Land Police Chief Doug Brinkley.

Brinkley says the city began installing red light cameras in 2007. Now, they have seven.

However, others think the technology does more harm than good.

The City of Houston decided to remove its red light cameras several years ago.

“Jurisdictions across the United States, including in Texas where it’s been put up for a vote of the people, 95% of the time the people vote them out,” said Randall Kallinen, an attorney who fought against red light cameras in Houston.

Kallinen says he’s opposed to the technology because it gives away Texans right to a jury trial, there are privacy concerns, and there’s no way to ensure the person ticketed was driving at the time of the infraction.

In addition, he claims the technology didn’t reduce wrecks in Houston.

However, Sugar Land statistics say otherwise. Police say the number of crashes at red light camera intersections decreased 33 percent last year.

But that’s not the only metric police are using.

“About 89 percent of people who have a violation from a red light camera never receive a second violation, so that’s a testament to that if you receive the first one. You’re changing your thought process and you’ll be more careful as you approach those intersections,” Brinkley said.

Another argument against the cameras is that they’re just a way for governments to make money.

Sugar Land police say they actually don’t make much the tickets, and all the revenue goes back to traffic improvements at the intersections with cameras.

KHOU


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