If the Texas Legislature forces cities to take down their red-light cameras — devices that aid local police departments in enforcing traffic laws — I fear we’re going to see an uptick in wrecks caused by reckless driving.
Sad times might lie ahead.
The Legislature is pondering whether to rescind the authority it granted cities a few years ago to deploy these devices at dangerous intersections. Local law enforcement and traffic officials were able to determine the most dangerous intersections in their cities; they deployed the cameras to take pictures of license plates on motor vehicles that ran through red lights. Cities then send citations to the registered owners of the vehicles, who then are told to pay fines.
I believe the cameras have deterred over time the rash of red-light violations in cities throughout the state.
Some folks keep bitching about them, though. I guess they’ve caught the attention of legislators and the governor, Greg Abbott, who’s now on board with the movement to take down the cameras.
That would be a shame.
Amarillo was one of the Texas cities to make use of the technology. Yes, it brought out the gripers. They complained to the city that they didn’t like being “busted” by machines; they considered the cameras to be unfair.
I laughed when I heard such nonsense. I also like harkening back to a retort offered a few years ago by a member of the City Council.
Then-Amarillo City Councilwoman Ellen Green said it succinctly and cogently. “If you don’t want to pay the fine,” she said during a council meeting, “then don’t run the red lights.”
Cities always can use the technological help the cameras provide. I hope the Legislature rethinks its move toward taking them down.
My hope doesn’t quite match my fear of what the Legislature is going to do.