An important issue on the minds of Houstonians to be voted on in the upcoming midterm elections is, “Shall the City of Houston continue to use red light cameras to enforce state or local laws relating to traffic safety?” How you vote depends on how you feel about the 70+ red light cameras that have been installed around the city.
According the Houston Tea Party website, “traffic camera schemes make a lot of money for installers who maintain them, but not so much for the cities.” Many Houstonians feel that the red light cameras are simply a way for the company that installs and maintains them to make money via a city contract.
However, these cameras are endorsed not only by many Houstonians, but our police and firefighting forces as well. President Jeff Caynon of the Houston Professional Firefighters Association has said that, “red light cameras are a safety tool that change behaviors and save lives.”
Where the Money Goes
According to Click 2 Houston, the money earned from the traffic safety violators goes is “by law designated to hospital trauma centers in the Texas Medical Center and to the police department for safety programs.” This fiscal year, over $5 million was amassed as a result of these cameras. Part of this money is set to be re-invested in programs that raise awareness about drunken driving.
How Will You Vote?
A good way to determine whether or not these red light cameras are effective is to take a look at your personal driving. Has your behavior changed as a result of these cameras? I know mine has! Although I have never received a ticket as a result of the red light cameras, simply the fact that I know they are there has made me a more cautious driver, and less willing to test that yellow light. As a native Houstonian who has been commuting all over the city for many years, I have witnessed several accidents that were a result of a driver running a red light. In fact, when my father taught me how to drive for the first time on Houston streets, he cautioned me to “wait a few seconds after the light turns green in case someone comes flying across the intersection.”
That advice has saved my life on more than one occasion. It makes sense that if people know that they could be ticketed for running a red light if seen by a camera, they will be less willing to take that chance, increasing safety for everyone on the road. Combine that reality with fact that the money collected as a result of these cameras goes to the Texas Medical Center and to programs designed to increase traffic safety, and Proposition 3 just received my vote!
‘”Sample Ballot” www.harrisvotes.org
Felicia Cravens, “Proposition 3: Red Light Cameras” www.houstontps.org
Mary Benton, ” Firefighters Support Prop. 3, Red Light Cameras.” www.click2houston.com