Cameras make streets safer, so let’s get rid of ’em!

What do you know about this?

Dallas city transportation officials are boasting about the effectiveness of the red-light cameras that the city used to deploy. They made the streets safer, but because the Legislature and Gov. Greg Abbott wanted to get rid of them, the city is being forced to unplug the cameras.

What a travesty!

The city isn’t alone. The 2019 Texas Legislature enacted a law that ordered cities to do away with the devices once their current vendor contracts expired. Dallas’ time has come. The city must pull the plug the cameras.

Get a load of this, though: The city says the cameras did their job in helping the police enforce traffic laws. It contributed to a reduction in T-bone wrecks at intersections.

I long have supported the idea of cities using the devices to help police enforce these laws. The cameras take pictures of vehicles that run through red lights. The city then sends citations to the owner of the offending vehicle. The owner then must pay a fine at municipal court or, if he or she feels the citation was issued incorrectly, he or she can appeal the citation.

Yes, cities also derive revenue from these cameras. Dallas stands to lose $2.5 million to $3 million annually, according to city officials. The Legislature, though, mandated that cities must use the revenue to enhance traffic programs. Dallas officials say their traffic infrastructure needs repair and the money generated by the cameras helped fund those repairs.

As the Dallas Morning News reported: The Texas Legislature “took another tool away from us,” said Michael Rogers, director of Dallas’ Department of Transportation, forcing city officials to rethink how to reduce crashes at problematic intersections.

I don’t live in Dallas. I do live close enough to the city to be somewhat concerned about the demise of these devices, given that I occasionally venture into the belly of the traffic beast on occasion.

I am sorry to hear the news that Dallas is bidding goodbye to a valuable law enforcement tool.

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