6/1/2007Texas City Installs Railroad Crossing Ticket Cameras
As the Texas legislature bans forms of photo enforcement, Grand Prairie begins installing new forms.
While the Texas legislature is cracking down on jurisdictions that use cameras to issue tickets to motorists, one city is pushing to expand their use in new ways. Grand Prairie, a Dallas suburb, will activate a railroad crossing ticket camera today -- the first such device in the state -- at 9th Street between Jefferson and Main.
State lawmakers have expressed deep skepticism regarding the value of automated ticketing. In the past two weeks they have sent legislation to the governor that would ban speed cameras, eliminate red light cameras within two years and send half of red light camera profit to a state trauma fund while banning cities from using the tickets to fund budget items unrelated to traffic safety.
Grand Prairie says that the system is designed to stop people from driving around crossing gates by issuing a $150 fine. These systems, however, are designed to trap motorists who drive across a set of train tracks just seconds after warning lights illuminate and the gate begins to close.
According to a 2003 Federal Railroad Administration report describing a program in Los Angeles, California, the cameras did not capture drivers who go around lowered crossing gates. Ninety-six and a half percent of violations were issued before the twelve seconds it takes for the crossing gates to come down. "Metrolink concluded that most motorists are racing against gates and not trains," the report stated.