One of the most common approaches used in the U.S. to address red-light running is the use of red light cameras. There is a lot of controversy surrounding the use of the cameras. In Houston, Texas, for instance, voters caused red light cameras to stop being used because they were extremely unpopular. One of the issues that was complained about was that people were receiving red light tickets for turning right on red, which is legal.
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has information on their website answering frequently asked questions about red light cameras. The site explains:
- The red light cameras only photograph vehicles that enter the intersection after the traffic signal has turned red. When vehicles enter an intersection on yellow, even if still in the intersection when the light turns red, a photograph is not taken.
- Regarding the purpose of red light cameras, TxDOT says the purpose is to improve safety at intersections. According to TxDOT, the lights are not put up in order to increase revenue for the city. Instead, they say, the money paid for violations is used to pay for the costs involved with the photographic enforcement system, including installation, operation, administration, and maintenance. The cost of a red light camera system varies but can cost more than $100,000. There is a requirement that a portion of revenue over and above installation and maintenance must go to the regional trauma account and local traffic safety.
Learn more information about the hazards of running red lights in Part 1 and this continuing series.