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A closer look a red light cameras as Texas is set to become the 11th state to ban their use.

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BACKGROUND

  • In 1992, NYC became the first to implement red light cameras.
  • Today, red light cameras operate in nearly 400 municipalities (down from a peak of 533 in 2012) across 22 states and D.C.
  • 21 states and D.C. have passed laws explicitly allowing red light camera programs; 10 states have outlawed red light cameras.
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How Do They Work?

  • Most red light cameras rely on sensors below the ground.
  • When a car enters an intersection after the light has turned red, the sensor alerts the camera to take a photo/video of car and/or driver.
  • Law enforcement review the records and send a ticket to the car’s registered owner.
  • Like all traffic tickets, drivers can challenge them in court.
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Are They Effective?

Depends …

  • According to studies from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety & others, red light cameras reduce crashes & removing them leads to more deadly crashes.
  • Other studies say red light cameras can actually lead to more accidents because drivers try to stop in order to avoid a ticket.
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Are They Legal?

Yes, Except For Where They’re Illegal

  • In general, like pedestrians on a public street, lawyers argue drivers have a limited expectation of privacy on public roads.
  • There is no presumption of guilt so long as the laws are applied uniformly and drivers have a chance to fight the ticket in court.
Current Events

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is expected to sign a bill banning red light cameras into law. A little known impact of these cameras? Money. Dallas raked in nearly $5.8 million on red light camera fees last year alone.

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