Texas Wants To Ban Something Drivers Despise

Government / 21 Comments

Even though it generates millions in revenue.

Red-light cameras. Nobody likes them, except for local municipalities because they generate millions of dollars in annual revenue. However, the Texas Senate has just passed House Bill 1631 by a significant margin and Governor Greg Abbott is expected to sign it into law, according to Dallas News. What is this bill, exactly? It will outlaw red-light cameras. "Red light cameras violate the right to due process," bill sponsor Sen. Bob Hall said, "by creating a presumption that the registered owner of the car committed a violation."

This legislation will prohibit cities from operating photographic traffic camera systems capable of catching speeders or red-light-runners and issuing them fines. Some Texas cities, including Arlington and Richardson, have already stopped using these cameras. Others have opted not to install them in the first place.

However, cities like Dallas and Plano plan to continue using these cameras because they claim they improve public safety. And, of course, they bring in money. Dallas, for example, earned roughly $5.8 million alone in 2018 thanks to every $75 fine issued. Half of this revenue went to the city while the other half was put towards the state's hospital trauma centers. The lawmakers who oppose traffic cameras have promised cities like Dallas the state will make up the funds these trauma centers will soon lose if the bill is signed into law.

Opposition lawmakers are mostly concerned the lack of cameras will harm public safety. They cite two studies that show how red-light cameras help decrease the risk of deadly T-bone crashes because drivers are far less likely to run red lights knowing cameras are in place. On the other hand, the studies also claim these cameras can potentially cause more rear-end collisions. The final debate over this bill lasted for less than one hour last week, so chances are Texas is about to ban red-light cameras for good. Will other states soon follow?

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