Friday, February 09, 2007
Bill would outlaw Red Light Cameras in Texas
Measure would ban any 'photographic traffic signal enforcement system'
By Jim Forsyth
The dreams of greedy city governments for a windfall from red light cameras may be about to hit a red light in the Texas Legislature.
State Representative Carl Isett (R-Lubbock) has introduced a bill that would outlaw the use of the devices in Texas, 1200 WOAI news is reporting exclusively today.
Isett’s bill, which has been refereed to the House Urban Affairs Committee, would bar any ‘local authority’ from ‘operating a photographic traffic signal enforcement system.’
The measure would also ban local governments from collecting any ‘civil or administrative penalty’ from the owners of vehicles which are photographed driving through red lights.
Isett’s bill would overturn a 2003 measure introduced by State Rep. Phil King of Weatherford which allowed use of the cameras by city and state governments, but restricted penalties to a basically uncollectible ‘civil fee.’
Isett’s measure comes on the heels of a bill filed by State Senator John Carona (D-Dallas) which would allow use of the red light cameras, but would require that all revenue collected from motorists be turned over to the state to help support emergency and trauma medical care.
Of communities in Bexar County, Balcones Heights, Leon Valley, and Alamo Heights have all toyed with the idea of red light cameras, with Balcones Heights having actually signed a contract with a Phoenix company, which is in the process of installing the red light cameras around the suburb.
This measure is likely to at least slow down the implementation of red light cameras, because it warns communities considering entering into lucrative contracts with red light camera operators that the contracts may be voided by the state.
1200 WOAI news reported exclusively last month that there is no enforcement mechanism which requires motorists to actually pay the tickets they receive in the mail from the Arizona based company, and, in fact, the compliance rate in Houston, which installed the cameras last fall, is in may cases no better than 10%.
Posted by Walker Report at Friday, February 09, 2007