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9/21/2006
Houston to Revise Red Light Camera Ordinance
Houston, Texas ordinance prevents red light cameras from collecting a third of the potential revenue.

Mayor Bill White
After just two weeks of red light camera operation in Houston, Texas, city officials are concerned about the ordinance under which the program issues $75 tickets. A two-word phrase is preventing the city from collecting on a third of its potential revenue -- $22,500 -- from motorists turning right on red. That amounts to more than half a million a year from the city's first ten cameras. Fifty are planned.

The ordinance states: "The owner of a motor vehicle is liable for a civil penalty of $75 if the motor vehicle proceeds into a system location without turning when the traffic control signal for that motor vehicle's direction of travel is emitting a steady red signal."

Already Mayor Bill White has agreed with Councilman Pam Holm to amend the ordinance so that the city can issue more tickets.

For many cities, "rolling stops" are a significant source of red light camera revenue. These occur when a motorist slows down without coming to an absolute halt or comes to a halt but beyond the white painted stop bar on the pavement. While Houston asserts the sole purpose of its photo enforcement program is saving lives, the practice of rolling stops is not a significant cause of fatal intersection accidents according to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Source: Houston red-light photo loophole excludes turns (Houston Chronicle, 9/21/2006)

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