(CBS 11 News) DALLAS Dallas drivers who run red lights should be prepared to have their photo taken. In just a couple of months, red light cameras will pop up all over the city, and the Dallas City Council has now asked for four times as many cameras as originally planned.
They’ll be the eyes of the intersections, and red light runners will be directly in their line of sight.
“About the time the light is ready to turn yellow," explained Elizabeth Ramirez with Public Works & Transportation, "it detects what speed they’re traveling at, and it says, ‘There’s no way you’d be able to stop in time.’”
Ramirez hopes that the red light cameras will reduce ‘t-bone’ collisions by a quarter, thanks to a $75 citation and a recent increase in the amount of cameras being installed. The Dallas City Council has given the green light to 60 cameras, instead of just 15 as first planned.
“They did not feel that that was going to be an aggressive enough program,” said Ramirez. “They wanted to see results faster.”
Based on the results from other cities, including Garland and Plano, Ramirez says the cameras work by word of mouth. “The word starts getting out that there’s cameras and that they’re getting tickets, and people don’t know where all the cameras are, so they just start driving more cautiously everywhere they go.”
Most drivers seem to agree.
“I’d slow down as soon as I saw the yellow light,” said one local driver.
“I think it’s terrible the way so many cars go through red lights,” added another local driver. “I hope it helps stop that.”
But not all Dallas politicians think that cameras are the answer.
“What we’ve instead found is that rear-end collisions often increase where there are red light cameras because there’s a fear of running even a yellow light,” said Angela Hunt of the Dallas City Council. She has requested a year-long analysis of the camera’s effects.
Ramirez says that the sooner these cameras start saving lives, the better. “By putting the 60 cameras throughout the entire city, we’re hoping to change driver behavior citywide,” she said.
City officials are still scouting out sites for the cameras, but say that all 60 should be installed by May.
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