Transportation

Houston-Area Communities Respond to Proposed Red Light Camera Ban

We could see a bill in the next legislative session banning red light cameras in Texas. But some local leaders say they’re a valuable tool that keeps the roads safe.

In his call to ban red light cameras, Governor Greg Abbott points to a study that says they actually make the roads less safe, because drivers try to brake too fast and cause rear-end collisions.

However, in Sugar Land, officials are crediting the cameras with a drop in crashes.

Jersey Village City Manager Austin Bleess said his community also saw a decrease in collisions after they started using the cameras.

“That’s proof right there that that’s saving lives,” said Bleess. “That’s preventing really bad accidents from people getting t-boned or anything like that. A major drop in the number of accidents like that really speaks for the cameras.”

Jersey Village has had to take down its cameras because of the U.S. 290 widening project, but Bleess said they’re now studying whether to bring them back.

“We have more lanes now in the frontage road and better sight lines,” he explained “and, when you have more openness like that, it usually tends to lead to more speeding, which can lead to more people running red lights.”

Houston used to have red light cameras, but voters decided to turn them off about eight years ago.

Texas lawmakers have also tried to pass a statewide ban in previous sessions but their efforts failed. Abbott said he’ll push for another bill banning the cameras in the 2019 session.

 

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Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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