Texas House Votes To Do Away With Red Light Cameras

Chris Fox
May 09, 2019 - 10:30 am
Red Light Camera

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AUSTIN (1080 KRLD) - The Texas House approved the legislation banning the red-light cameras by a vote of 109 to 34.

State Representative Jonathan Stickland said he had three reasons for drafting the bill. First, it violates due process; the accuser is a camera you can’t face in court. Secondly he said, “The most outrageous aspect of red-light cameras to me is how it turns our legal system upside down and you are guilty until you prove yourself innocent. I think this is a major problem.” And lastly Stickland said he’s also convinced by data that this has nothing to do with public safety and that the cameras makes us less safe.

The safety aspect of the cameras was also questioned in 2018 by Governor Abbott. He formulated a 21-page plan to do away with the cameras and in it he cited a study by Case Western Reserve. The author, economist Justin Gallagher concluded, “The red-light camera policy does not improve the number of injuries. In fact, if anything injuries go up when the policy is in place.” Gallagher is referring to an increase in rear-end collisions caused when drivers stopped suddenly at the intersections.

State Representative Ramon Romero spoke out against Stickland’s bill on the House floor. “Anyone who says it hasn’t had a positive affect and it hasn’t had a change in driving patterns has their head in the sand.”

When the bill was in committee representatives of local governments testified against the bill saying they had come to rely on the ticket revenue.  Police officers from all over Texas spoke out against the bill as well. Austin Police Detective Patrick Oborski said it makes the city safer. “Crashes have been reduced at the ten intersections with the red-light cameras by approximately 41-percent.”

The red-light camera policy has also been challenged in court.

On Friday the Texas Supreme Court threw out a case against the cameras in Willis Texas. The court concluded the case wasn’t specifically about the automated ticketing system but whether a ticket could be challenged.

There’s a similar bill in the State Senate that was passed out of committee but has not been scheduled yet for a floor vote.