Gov. Abbott Says Texas Should Ban Red Light Cameras

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) - Governor Greg Abbott announced a set of policy proposals to increase public safety across the state.

Gov. Abbott said his top priority is to keep Texans safe and these proposals will help.

As part of Gov. Abbott's Public Safety Plan to Protect Texas Families and Communities, he has made a recommendation to strengthen the rights of Texas drivers.

Gov. Abbot said Texas should ban red light cameras.

According to a statement, the governor recommends prohibiting local adoption of the devices and preempting any local ordinances or policies permitting the red light cameras already in use.

We spoke with Amarillo City Manager Jared Miller about the City of Amarillo's response.

"The city's not gonna have an opinion different from the state. If the legislature says we don't wanna do red light cameras anymore, obviously I don't think we would argue that point," Miller said.

Miller said the city currently has 12 red light cameras, but there are no plans in place to remove any of them right now.

At any rate, red light cameras are frustrating for drivers, especially in downtown Amarillo.

"They're good in some places where it's a hazard and there's too many running, but all over town? Nah. It's a pain. It causes accidents 'cause people wait too late to start braking," said Sidney Webb, an Amarillo driver.

An excerpt from Gov. Abbott's statement said the cameras are expensive, and studies indicate they may increase accidents where deployed, in addition to posing constitutional issues. 

"The whole program is designed to enhance safety, so if the determination at the state level is that it doesn't enhance safety, then it makes total sense to remove the program," Miller added. "The data would show that it does help here, but it's certainly not something--a point that we would argue with the legislature."

Miller said if the city is given a mandate by the state legislature to remove the red light camera program, it would first have to give notice to end contracts with companies overseeing the use of those devices. 

Gov. Abbott's plan is also aimed at reducing violent crime, cracking down on human trafficking and organized crime, in addition to ensuring law enforcement officers have the resources they need to do their jobs.

Click here to read the press release from Gov. Greg Abbott.

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