Almost since the day the first Red Light Cameras were installed in Texas in 2007, critics have said they should be removed. They claim that they are unconstitutional and cause more accidents than they prevent. Governor Greg Abbott agreed with the critics and signed a bill banning the use of the cameras effective June 2, 2019. At Springer & Lyle, we need you to know some important things concerning the cameras and their recent ban.
How Red Light Cameras Work
A red light camera is stationed at an intersection and timed to take a picture of a vehicle that drives through the intersection when the light is in the red light phase in the direction of the vehicle whose photo was snapped. The registered owner of the vehicle (which may or may not be the driver) is then mailed a citation costing $75. In many Texas counties, car registrations could not be renewed if the red light camera fine had not been paid.
Although some studies indicate that red light cameras reduce the number of side-impact collisions, other studies show they may lead to an increase in other types of accidents caused by the driver’s sudden, sharp braking. Since the camera snaps the picture in the first second that the light changes from yellow to red, it is unlikely that a T-bone accident will occur during that time frame.
The results of a Case Western study of red light cameras in Houston and Dallas showed that red light cameras actually increased non-angle accidents.
Effective Date of the Ban
Although the effective date of the ban is June 2, 2019, the day after the bill was signed, many cities may have the cameras for many years to come. The law allows cities who have long-term contracts with camera vendors to keep their cameras until the contract expires. Fort Worth, for example, has a contract that will not expire until 2026. On the other hand, the Fort Worth city attorney has implied that the contract was considered ended on the day the governor signed the bill.
The most important take-away is that whether not there is a red light camera, it is still against the law to run a red light. Drivers who run red lights may still be liable for any injuries suffered by others that were caused by the running of the red light even if there was no camera.
If you were injured when someone ran a red light, our personal injury attorneys at Springer & Lyle can help you obtain the reasonable compensation you are entitled to for your injuries, lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other physical damage. Contact us at 940.387.0404 for a free consultation.