Red Light Camera Program
Decreasing Traffic Accidents
A nationwide study of fatal crashes at traffic signals in 1999 and 2000 estimated that 20% of the drivers involved failed to obey the signals. In 2005, more than 800 people were killed and an estimated 165,000 were injured in crashes that involved red light running. About half of the deaths in red light running crashes are pedestrians and occupants in other vehicles who are hit by the red light runners.
In addition, a recent Federal Highway Administration study identified Texas as one of the worst states for red-light running. The financial costs of these accidents in Texas have been estimated at between $1.4 billion and $3 billion annually in medical, insurance, and related expenses. Red-light accidents often are among the worst because they generally involve vehicles crashing directly into the driver or passenger side of another car at high speeds.
Prior to the Red Light Camera Program, the City of Plano averaged nearly 17 traffic crashes per day, more than eight traffic injuries per day, and a traffic fatality about every 23 days. In cities across Texas, statistically, the most probable way to be killed or injured is in a traffic crash. We owe it to our citizens to do everything possible to reduce the frequency of these tragedies. The purpose of Plano’s Automated Red Light Camera Enforcement Program is to increase traffic safety in the City of Plano by reducing the number of red light violations, crashes, and resulting injuries and deaths.
Red Light Camera Program
In September 2003, the Texas Legislature ratified Senate Bill 1184, which amended Section 542.202 of the Texas Transportation Code. This amendment authorized municipalities to impose civil penalties against the owner of a motor vehicle for a violation of a municipal ordinance.
Chapter 12 of the City of Plano Municipal Code of Ordinances was enacted in August of 2004 and establishes that: “the owner of a motor vehicle is liable for a civil penalty of $75 if, while facing only a steady red signal displayed by an electrically operated traffic-control signal located in the city, the vehicle is operated in violation of the instructions of that traffic-control signal, as specified by Texas Transportation Code, Section 5447(d).”
On June 15, 2007, Governor Rick Perry signed Senate Bill 1119, which became effective on September 1, 2007. This bill created Texas Transportation Code Chapter 707; establishing procedures for local entities that opted to use cameras to cite owners of vehicles that illegally run through red lights. The bill also provides specific processes for implementing a Photographic Traffic Signal Enforcement Program, contracting certain duties to a vendor, imposing a civil penalty, and creating a hearing and appeals process. On August 22, 2007, the Plano City Council amended Chapter 12 of the Plano City Ordinances to reflect modifications required by Senate Bill 1119