Texas Bans Red Light Cameras

The state of Texas decided to preempt local traffic safety laws by banning all red light camera programs.
June 3, 2019, 10am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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David Tonelson

"Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Saturday signed a bill to ban red light cameras statewide," report Jeff Bell and Ashley Goudeau.

Gov. Abbott was signing House Bill 1631, approved by both houses in the Texas legislature in May. The bill forces cities to phase out existing red light cameras. "It requires cities and counties that are able to get out of their contracts with red light camera vendors to do so," according to the article. Five cities have contracts that prevent immediate action to end contracts with red light camera options.

According to Bell and Goueau, the political debate surrounding the bill squared Rep. Jonathan Stickland (R-Bedford) against Rep. Ramon Romero (D-Fort Worth). Rep. Romero tied red light cameras to traffic safety, while Rep. Strickland suggested that the cameras infringe on constitutional rights and don't actually stop drivers from running red lights. 

Studies of Chicago and Houston have shown that red light cameras improve traffic safety. A study of 158 cities found that fatal crashes increased by 30 percent in cities that removed red light cameras as compared to those that continued to operate cameras.

The bill seemed unlikely to make it out committee in April, but overcame the final obstacles on the way to approval. Gov. Abbott posted a triumphant video of himself signing the new law into effect to Twitter .

The Associated Press also provides coverage of the bill's signing.

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Published on Saturday, June 1, 2019 in KVUE
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