East Texans Chime In On Red Light Cameras

Longview residents may want to think twice before running a red light. That's because Thursday, city council members unanimously approved a proposal to install red light camera systems at intersections around the city.

"People need to quit running red light," said Council Member John Sims. He says he had no hesitation Thursday night, voting for the red-light cameras. "There's too many people running red lights in this city. I know I've been almost hit quite a few times," Sims said.

The city says they hope tickets issued from the cameras will deter people from running the lights and ultimately cut down on accidents. "It's not the money we're after at all, it's just a matter we are worried about fatalities," Sims said.

And most Longview residents say they are too. "Every morning when I'm coming to work, somebody's always running a red light. Every intersection that you come up to, I mean you're in danger of getting broadsided, and I think it's a great idea," said Longview resident Grace Tutt.

In fact, 9 out of 10 said they're in favor of the cameras. "I think it will improve law enforcement and increase safety," said Jack Park.

"I think it's a great idea. It will probably cut down on some accidents," said Dick Stuckey.

But some say there are still many questions to be answered. "Whenever you have someone borrowing your car, such as a friend, if they run a red light or they cause something, well, 'What happens to you?' You get the ticket and you have to pay for it and if it wasn't you driving, that's not fair," said Kevin Sheehan.

In response, council says it's up to the car owner to collect money from the person driving. The city says they know the cameras are going to cause some controversy.

"At first some of them when they get caught they're going to be irritated, but then they'll learn they shouldn't be doing this in the first place," said Sims.

In the long run, they hope it will save lives. Councilman Sims says about five cameras will be installed around the city in the next two to three months. The ticket will be considered a civil violation, meaning it won't count against your insurance.

Tracy Watler, Reporting: tracy@kltv.com.