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Saturday, June 16, 2007

Guv. signs Red Light Camera Bill to cap fines

Texas Governor Rick Perry has signed into law, SB1119, authored by State Senator John Carona (R) that passed both chambers. The bill is a transportation bill that will cap the amount of fine ($75) a city can assess for violators who run a red light in their city.

According to the bill, the city has to certify that the traffic signals actually make the roads safer...and have to fork over basically all of the cash to the state...except for the money it takes to run them.

Currently the City of Balcones Heights assesses a fine of $148 that authorizes the vendor to keep $40 while turning over $108 to the City for each collected violation. The bill goes into effect September 1st.

There are also new requirements for signage. Also...American Traffic Solutions (ATS) out of Scotsdale, Arizona, the vendors who installed the cameras in Balcones Heights are prohibited from turning over records of non-payers to credit reporting agencies. Since the ticket is civil and not criminal, there is no effective tool to require people to actually pay the fines.

Under a criminal statute, an officer issues a citation that can lead to suspension of license, increase in insurance premiums and possible arrest for failure to pay the ticket. Under the civil statute, none of that applies.

According to former Balcones Heights Councilman Steve Walker, the lone nay vote, "it seems the legislature agreed with me that it was never about safety, and all about revenue."

To date over 2-thousand violations have been issued since the installation of the red-light cameras with no up to date record as to how many violators have actually paid the fine.


Anonymous said...

Why doesn't the state require traffic lights that have a standard amount of yellow time before they change as well as make the yellow start blinking when there is not enought time to make it through the intersection

Anonymous said...

try teaching people that. also, a flashing yellow light means slow and proceed with caution...using it at an intersection to say "you don't have time to cross" will only confuse people even more.

also, yellow is the barrier between red and green. if you see yellow on a pproach, save yourself the hassle and stop. who cares aif you ahve to wait 3-5 minutes at a getting a big ticket in the mail. there's really no point in extending yellow lights, it jsut gives people more and more reason to speed up and try to make it before its red.

Anonymous said...

One good way to get rid of the cameras is to boycott all businesses in the city where they exist, then the businesses will force the cities to get rid of them. Money talks and I will not conduct any business in a city that has these cameras.