A letter in support of RLC's by the Chairmen of the National Safety Coalition. We have an opportunity to keep our intersections safe. Early voting starts today.
Dear Legislator X
We write to express our support for continuing Texas’ red light camera programs and urge you to vote against [BILL #] at the [NAME] committee on [DAY], [DATE]. Texas communities use traffic safety cameras to reduce red light running, reduce crashes and save lives, and these programs have had enormous success. However, [BILL NUMBER] seeks to ban, limit or place restrictions on the use of red light cameras and put the public’s safety at risk. This would drastically reduce the ability of our Texas police departments to enforce and hold accountable drivers who run red lights.
Law enforcement officials understand the dangers affecting their communities, particularly the dangers we face on our roadways. Local police departments know the needs of their communities and understand the need for the added enforcement on our roadways. We believe they should have every available technology at their disposal to enforce the crucial traffic safety laws that keep us safe and hold red light runners accountable.
The data is indisputable that Texas’s red light camera programs have successfully changed driver behavior and reduced red light running, crashes and injuries on our state’s roads. The most recent statistics from police departments show traffic safety cameras have reduced crashes at the state’s most dangerous intersections:
- Ft. Worth: 83% reduction in the number of collisions after one year of installing safety cameras (Star-Telegram, 2/1/15)
- Arlington: 75% reduction in the number of collisions at photo-enforced intersections (The Shorthorn, 2/11/15)
- Sugar Land: 59% reduction in the number of intersection crashes at photo-enforced intersections (City of Sugar Land, 2012).
- Plano: 50% reduction in rear-end collisions, 43% in intersection collisions, and 20% in red light running collisions at photo-enforced intersections (City of Plano, 2013)
- Killeen: 47% reduction in red-light violations (Killeen Daily Herald, 8/3/2014)
- Austin: 40% reduction in the number of collisions at photo-enforced intersections (Austin American-Statesman, 3/5/12).
We are concerned if the red light camera programs do not continue we could see dramatic increases in red light running and crashes, as has happened in other communities:
- Houston: The Houston Police Department reported a 117% increase in collisions – from 4,100 to almost 9,000 – and a 30% increase in fatal crashes since safety cameras were turned off in 2010 (ABC 13, 10/28/14). Injury crashes increased by 350% and one dangerous intersection saw crashes increase by 1,300% (KTRK-13, 6/8/11).
- Albuquerque, New Mexico: 584% increase in speeding and red light running five months after cameras were turned off (KRQE, 5/27/11).
- Garfield Heights, Ohio: 214% increase in speeding after safety cameras were turned off (City of Garfield Heights, 2011)
Even more, many Texas police departments face resource challenges. Red light cameras have served as force multipliers, allowing them to address other public safety needs without having to sacrifice the enforcement of our most basic traffic safety laws. Local police officers have utilized safety cameras to make roads safer for all of us, and they have worked. If municipalities had not had the right to determine what is best for their roads, who knows how many more accidents would have occurred? Unfortunately, for many families, it is already too late.
Photo enforcement keeps our roads and residents safe, but we need your help to make sure these traffic safety camera programs continue to be successful. In the next ten hours, at least one person will be killed on our Texas roadways. We cannot wait for more innocent bystanders to be killed while we allow more drivers to ignore our most basic traffic safety law – red means stop. We urge you to oppose any effort to ban or limit the use of traffic safety cameras.
Paul and Sue OberhauserNational Co-Chairs, Traffic Safety Coalition