Red-light cameras have been installed in cities across Texas and the nation under the pretense of promoting safe driving but, in reality, the automated devices are little more than another vehicle for municipalities to rob citizens of their money.
Photo enforced traffic citations violate drivers’ due process rights. Cities don’t have to prove who was driving the ticketed cars, and wrongly accused drivers aren’t able to fight charges in front of a jury trial.
Further yet, studies have shown the cameras lead to no improvements in safety, as drivers are quicker to unsafely slam on their brakes ahead of intersections, potentially increasing the rate of accidents.
Activists across Texas have been successful in referendum efforts to ban the cameras in multiple cities across the state, including Arlington, Houston, and Baytown. Banning the cameras completely in Texas is a priority of the Republican Party of Texas, whose platform states:
“We urge the Texas Legislature to enact legislation for the statewide ban of all photo enforcement ticket cameras, such as red-light cameras, speed cameras, and external-facing cameras on buses.”
Bills to end the use of red-light cameras have failed to be passed out of the legislature. In the most recent legislative session, a ban bill authored by State Sen. Bob Hall (R–Edgewood) passed the Texas Senate with bipartisan support — after it was amended to exclude school bus stop-arm cameras — but died in the House.
Fortunately for Texas motorists, the legislation may have a better chance of passing this year, after receiving the high-profile endorsement of Gov. Greg Abbott. The issue is also currently before the Texas Supreme Court.