AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Red light camera tickets will soon be a thing of the past for Amarillo drivers.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, local authorities are no longer permitted to install or operate photographic traffic signal enforcement systems, or red light cameras, and use of evidence from photographic enforcement systems is prohibited. This comes after the 86th Texas Legislature passed HB 1631, becoming effective in June 2019.
However, the City of Amarillo was allowed to finish out its existing contract under that law.
Donny Hooper, the city’s director of public works, said on Tuesday that their red light camera contract with Verra Mobility ends on August 29.
“So at midnight on the 29th of August, that’s when all of the system will be turned off, as far as issuing any type of citations,” said Hooper.
However, the equipment will not come down immediately.
“It’ll be there for up to 90 days, and give them time to come in and remove all of it and get it out of the right of ways,” he said. “So, people are going to probably see that equipment still there for a little while, but again, the citations would end on the 29th at midnight.”
According to Hooper, the city has entered into a wind-down agreement with the company to wrap everything up, noting that process will be mostly internal and will not affect the public.
He also said statistics show the cameras are effective at preventing traffic accidents.
“We’ve looked at those stats throughout the years, when a camera would move from one location to another, or if it had been in service at a location for a long period of time and then we’d move that to a different location, we noticed that the accident rates at those areas would increase when the red light cameras were away,” Hooper said.
Even once the cameras are turned off, he said the city wants to make sure drivers are safe.
“While red light cameras have been shown to reduce accidents, it’s really the people that are driving the vehicles that can have an effect on that and the greatest impact on that as far as reduction in accidents are concerned,” Hooper said. “So we just ask people, be careful and watch what they’re doing out there when they’re driving the streets of Amarillo.”