Fort Worth: Red Light Cameras Are Here To Stay
By Sana Syed
FORT WORTH (CBS 11 / TXA 21) ― Click to enlarge1 of 1
CBS 11 News
The City of Lubbock did away with its red light traffic cameras and Tuesday night College Station voted out cameras there. But the City of Fort Worth has added 10 red light cameras in the last few months.
Each month Fort Worth issues some 4,700 red light camera tickets. Whether you like them or not, Fort Worth's 34 red light cameras are here to stay.
"The program has worked very well for us," explained Fort Worth City Traffic engineer Randy Burkett. "We have a good contractor. We're very pleased with it."
According to Burkett, Fort Worth has seen a 31-percent reduction in the number of car crashes at intersections, since the cameras went online.
But red light camera critics remain skeptical. "My firm belief is cities look at it as a revenue generation situation," said Carl Fors. Fors, who is a writer for public safety magazines, is an expert on radar guns and lasers.
He says the cameras have caused more rear-end collisions. "Yes, it does reduce intersection collisions. I'm all for that. But at the same time, research indicates it [cameras] creates the same number of accidents."
Burkett doesn't agree and claims the city benefits from the cameras. "It's a big help," he said.
Last year, Fort Worth made more than $1.2 million from red light tickets. Almost two-thirds of that revenue goes to the camera vendors. State law requires that half of the remaining revenue must go to the state for regional trauma centers. The other half goes to a special city account to fund traffic safety programs.
"It's not about making money," Burkett said. "The program was designed to change people's attitudes."
Fors says he hopes the city will at least allow people to ask for a trial by jury -- because that's a constitutional right. For now jury trial aren't an option, but the city is expected to allow those requests in a few months.
For now, Fort Worth has no plans to increase the red light camera count. (© MMIX, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)