Red-lights cameras can stay … at least for a while

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill into law that I wish he hadn’t signed. It was a bill that disallows cities from deploying red-light cameras to aid in enforcing traffic safety laws.

Ah, but here’s an interesting catch: An amendment to the bill approved by the Legislature allows cities to keep the cameras operating until their current vendor contracts expire. That means that while cities can terminate contracts for cause, they also can keep them operating for the length of the contract.

One city that has the cameras in place is Amarillo. I strongly supported Amarillo’s decision to use the devices to deter motorists from running red lights. I also strongly support the city’s apparent decision to stay the course until its contract with the vendor runs out.

Amarillo’s contract with American Traffic Solutions expires in September 2022. So, for more than three more years the city will be able to rely on the cameras to be on guard against lawbreakers when the police are looking the other way.

Unlike some cities knuckled under to some critics of the devices, Amarillo recently expanded the deployment locations, believing it had identified troublesome intersections; it did remove the cameras at some other intersections as well.

So, it’s a good-news, bad-news sort of thing. Some cities will get to keep the devices on duty for the length of their contracts; that’s the good news.

The bad news is that the contracts will expire eventually.

Then what? Will these Texas communities’ motorists and pedestrians be exposed to those who just don’t bother to follow the instructions to stop when the street signals turn red?

One thought on “Red-lights cameras can stay … at least for a while”

  1. Unfortunately, the legislature was unable to legislate “Safe” driving. If drivers would pay attention to their driving, obey speed laws and stop at red lights, we wouldn’t need the cameras. But todays drivers are distracted with their phones, they don’t pay attention to their driving. I looked at the records of just one traffic light camera in Amarillo. It averaged 850 tickets per month. That’s over 10,000 red light runners per year at just one intersection. Do people not pay attention, do they not care? I wonder how many of those are repeat offenders.

    Add to that the occasional fender bender that occurs. Insurance rates in Amarillo are higher than insurance rates in Dallas, due to a higher percentage of accidents per capita. Most of this is attributed to ‘distracted’ driving and red light running.

    My wife was rear ended at a light, because she stopped for the red light, and because the person behind her was texting at the time. The car was totaled. We got a new car and my wife was broadsided by a car coming out of a fast food chain while looking at her cell phone. It was a few weeks later. (it was the same person who hit her the first time.)

    But as to red light cameras. Who is complaining about them. I ‘m not complaining, and I don’t run red lights. When a light turns yellow, I try to stop before it’s red….. I don’t speed up because I think I’m too important to stop for a red light. and…………………I have a perfect driving record. I’ve never been in a wreck where I was at fault. I have been hit a couple of times…. by red light runners…….. and I’ve been hit four times when my car was parked and locked. (once in my own driveway) and all were because of distracted driving. ( This was before cell phones and the drivers were changing tapes or tuning the radio at the time.)

    Those who complain are generally guilty and they don’t want to take responsibility for their bad driving habits. One lady wrote a complaint to the local editor, about getting tickets at one particular intersect (which had a camera.) Note that ticket(s) is plural. One would think after the first one, you would be aware of that intersection and take caution. She went on to say that she “doesn’t receive tickets at red lights without a camera.” Duh! But this also tells me that she runs red lights at other intersections, but just doesn’t get caught.

    Of course the guilty complain that they “don’t get to face their accusers.” The camera don’t take a picture of the driver, just the vehicle and license plate. Unless you can prove the car was “stolen” at the time, you should know who was driving the car. If it was your kid, talk to that kid and make them face up to their responsibilities. My Dad would have deducted the cost of the ticket from my allowance until it was paid off.

    I personally think the legislature was wrong on this decision . If any think it will encourage more to run that red light. It may cause more accidents, and it will take away our rights of being able to prove who ran the red light and hit us.

Leave a Reply