Red light cameras have finally met their end in Texas.
After a successful campaign in the 86th legislative session, Governor Greg Abbott officially signed House Bill 1631 into law, effectively prohibiting all red light cameras in the state.
The bill was co-authored by more than 60 bipartisan representatives, including local state representatives Matt Shaheen and Jeff Leach.
This bill means a win for local constituents who Shaheen says “overwhelmingly” called for an end to the red light camera program.
“We see no impact to public safety,” he said in April. “We have reviewed studies that show the benefits as well as the negative impacts of red light cameras. The ripple effect we anticipate is much happier constituents who feel like their voices have been heard.”
At $75 a ticket, the red light cameras are lucrative for area police departments, so the transition does mean a loss to their revenue stream, which is used strictly for public safety programs.
In Allen, the system was put out of commission back in 2017, 10 years after the program was greenlit by council. While the city initially planned for more cameras, only one was ever in use, at the intersection of Alma Road and W. McDermott Drive.
The new law also means a win for those who’ve long despised the lack of due process with automated ticketing system.
Irving-based attorney Russell Bowman has advocated against red light cameras for much of his career, even representing Plano residents Ashley Nicole Hill and Jon Neill in a lawsuit against the city and Plano Police Chief Greg Rushin, for allegedly violating the Texas Constitution. Bowman has been involved in several other suits against cities that used the cameras including Richardson – over his own red light citation.
The Plano police have long been vocal advocates for the red light program for reducing traffic crashes and discouraging reckless driving behavior. Last year, the department netted $2.4 million in revenue. Officials said that as of May 31, not further notices will be issued for red light violations in Plano.
The ban will take effect in September, but cameras can still be used until the cities’ contracts with their enforcement systems providers ends.
Liz McGathey contributed to this report.