Abbott Supports Outlawing Red Light Cameras

Gov. Abbott says he will support measures in the 2019 session of the Texas Legislature that would outlaw those 'red light cameras,' News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

Abbott says red light cameras, which are in place in Balcones Heights and Leon Valley in this area, don't work, and he cited a study done by economist Justin Gallagher at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio, which says the cameras actually increase the number of accidents.

"A red light camera policy does not improve the number of injuries, in fact, injuries go up when red light cameras are in place," Gallagher told News Radio 1200 WOAI.

Gallagher says 'T-bone' accidents, which supporters say red light cameras reduce, actually do not go down when the cameras are installed.  He says red light cameras lead to a massive increase in rear end collisions, as a driver enters an intersection, notices that a camera is installed, and stops abruptly.

"Ones that are very serious, life threatening, those accidents are no improved under a red light camera policy," he said.

Supporters say red light cameras extend the ability of small town police departments, which don't have enough officers to park at patrol car at every red light in town, especially cities like Leon Valley and Balcones Hts, which are built along major arteries.

They also say red light cameras are simply a new type of police technology, no different from the use of radar, lidar, or radio communications, and say motorists have no Constitutional right to ignore red lights.

Both suburbs have been active defenders of red light cameras, and the Balcones Heights Police Chief testified before the Legislature last year on the benefits the cameras have brought to safety on Fredericksburg Rd.

Critics have long charged that red light cameras are a scam, designed to drain the pockets of motorists who are passing through a small town, and compared them to the sixties image of the motorcycle cop hiding behind a billboard ready to nail an out of towner in a speed trap.

The State House and Senate both approved measures to outlaw red light cameras back in 2015, but the bill died in a conference committee.


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