Two years after legislation to ban red light cameras stalled on the floor of the House, Texas lawmakers have filed several bills to renew the debate during the 85th Legislative Session in Austin.
Proponents of red light cameras point to studies that suggest photo enforcement reduces right-angle (T-bone) crashes, which are widely considered to be the most likely to cause bodily injury. Opponents of red light cameras claim the tickets are less likely to hold up in court and generate little revenue for municipalities, when compared with the cash flow to the vendor providing the camera service.
Killeen, which launched its red light camera program in 2008, is the only major city to use the technology locally. Temple does not operate red light cameras, nor does Waco -- which considered them in 2015.
"The City of Waco, and the city council, looked at this very seriously a year or more ago and pretty well took the approach that it was not the thing to do at the time," Waco Spokesman Larry Holze said. "They were leaving it up to the legislature and going to see what's going to happen."
Instead of red light cameras, Waco has experimented with white light technology, which allows uniformed police officers to physically see when a light is red, even if they are on the opposite side of an intersection. If an officer determines a driver ran a red light, then that driver will be stopped and issued a ticket.
"Police officers can be downstream from where you're flowing, and if you bust a red light, that white light comes on in the back of the signal head, showing when the red light is on," Holze explained.
If state lawmakers vote to ban red light cameras, Killeen's cameras would become illegal.