If Rep. Carl Isett has his way, a traffic citation for running a red light will not show up in your mailbox. He filed a bill Wednesday, February 2nd that would prohibit red light cameras across the entire state. Last year, lawmakers started allowing them on a city by city basis.
They're currently being used in Houston and there has been talk of using them in Lubbock. Some local politicians are in favor of the cameras, and some are not.
It's happened to all of us, all of a sudden the light is red and you've just broken the law. Many politicians agree that red light running is a problem. Red Light cameras have been a questionable solution.
Red Light Camera Controversy
Lubbock could be the second Texas city to have red light cameras installed at busy intersections. But not without controversy.
"If we can use those to slow people down and reduce the amount of red lights that are run, then in theory I think I'm in favor of it," said Lubbock City Councilman Jim Gilbreath.
The traffic cameras located at 98th and Quaker only sense motion, but they look just like red light cameras. Actual red light cameras take your picture as you speed through the light.
But the machines are unconstitutional according to State Representative Carl Isett. "It undermines your due process, the ability you have to go to court and cross examine your accuser, and it also, I think, violates the fourth amendment of search and seizure," said Isett.
Lubbock City Councilman, Tom Martin is also against the technology. He says other traffic violations are criminal cases in which you can go to jail if you don't pay the fine. He says the pictures are a civil matter, which has to be enforced through a lawsuit. "It can take years to process, it costs a lot of money and there's no teeth in it to keep people from continually running red lights," said Martin.
Now that you know how our local officials feel, News Channel 11 wanted to know what you think, so we braved the red lights and asked you.
One driver said, "Um, probably not," to the red light camera idea.
Another said, "I think it's a good idea. Well, you stop, you're supposed to stop."
And another driver said, "There's too many of them running those red lights, so I think it's a good deal."
Again, many agree on the red light running problem, they just don't agree on the cameras as a solution.
Isett says the cameras have already received strong opposition in Houston, which is one reason he says the bill he signed will be pushed through the house very quickly for approval.