Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Urban Affairs to hear Isett's red-light camera ban

Those concerned with using cameras instead of police officers for traffic enforcement may want to make their views known to the Urban Affairs Committee supporting HB 985 by Rep. Carl Isett, which will be heard there tomorrow. Houston, Austin, and other Texas cities have recently installed or decided to install red light cameras.

I've been off this hobby horse for a while, but this blog has long opposed the expansion of red light cameras in particular for a variety of reasons. This bill takes that opposition one step further and prohibits speeding and other traffic enforcement in addition to red light enfocement via cameras at intersections. (In the Senate, John Carona has legislation that would split revenue between locals and the state.) I've covered this ground frequently before, so let me refresh readers' memories of why I don't like camera enforcement of traffic laws:
In the 79th session this legislation, or actually a version of it banning only red light cameras, passed the House but died in the Senate when state Sen. Rodney Ellis threatened to fillibuster it in the session's closing days. I've suggested previously that if the House wants this passed it may have to start attaching the language onto Senate Transportation bills as they come through the lower chamber, and I still think that may be the best way to get this issue before the Governor.

See also this report on red light cameras in Texas from the House Research Organization.


Anonymous said...

Even if your reasons are good. how can society stop those who feel no compunction about not obeying basic rules that make it possible for people to live in civilized society. There are certain basics that prevent anarchy, obeying traffic laws is one of them. Those who intentionally run stop signs or red lights must be trained somehow. In a daily commute of 30 minutes each way, I see at least 5 cars blatantly run red lights. What is your alternative? There may be more rearend collisions, but that is better than being broadsided by a car speeding through a light.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Two responses. First, I think you mischaracterize many red light runners, or at least paint with too broad a brush (no compunction, etc.). There is only an element of intent in a subset of red lights run (how large a subset is a matter of debate), not all of them. Second, the vast number of superior alternatives is the main reason not to do red light cameras. See the discussion here. If cities were worried about public safety, they'd try engineering solutions first, but they're mostly worried about revenue, so we get Robo-Fines. best,

Anonymous said...

Short version - It is all about money. Most traffic enforcement is all about money, big money. It is big money for the local government and the insurance companies who get to jack up your rates. Also people will slam on the brakes if they think they may get tagged by the red light cam and cause a pile up. This is not rocket science.

Anonymous said...

It is indeed all about money. Drivers have a natural instince to avoid being hit or hitting someone. We all observe safety when driving. Traffic enforcement that is directly related to safety is very rare.

Anonymous said...

George Carlin once said, "Cop didn't see it, I didn't do it."

Unknown said...

Regarding "Drivers have a natural instince to avoid being hit or hitting someone" - - I could not disagree more!

I see way too many drivers clearly risking their lives as well as mine, in a effort to get a 5 second jump on the rest of the drivers on the road!

However, I do agree that enforcement is about big money. RLCs are evil and I hope that they are removed.