A new report from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) National Center for Statistics and Analysis (NCSA) shows 410 people died in Texas in red light running crashes from 2009-13 – the second highest total in the country, according to a press release from the Traffic Safety Coalition. This new data comes at the same time Texas mayors, police chiefs, children’s safety experts, trauma officials and traffic safety advocates are urging state legislators to reject attempts to ban or limit the use of red light cameras in Texas, claiming the technology is effective in reducing red light running and avoidable crashes.
Some chiefs of police and city officials warn the abandonment of the life-saving camera program could increase collisions and put Texan residents at serious risk of death or injury. They are writing letters and making calls to members of the state legislature urging them to continue the red light camera program in Texas.
“I continue to support the use of automated enforcement in efforts to enforce red light running and urge our Texas legislative representatives to continue to allow the use of these technologies by the law enforcement community,” said Plano City Council Member Patrick Gallagher in a prepared statement.
According to data from the Texas Department of Transportation, 3,377 people were killed on Texas roadways in 2013, or one fatality every 2 hours and 36 minutes.
“The people who are killed at the hands of reckless drivers every year are more than just statistics. They’re the children, siblings and parents of people whose loved ones are lost due to people who break the law,” said Traffic Safety Coalition National Co-Chair Paul Oberhauser, whose daughter Sarah was killed in a red light running crash in 2002, in a prepared statement. “If a law-enforcement tool is proven to prevent tragedies such as Sarah’s, why wouldn’t we use it? Although nothing will bring Sarah back, we encourage the use of any tool or technology that will keep families safe and prevent another senseless tragedy.”