Houston is the latest big city to consider installing cameras to catch traffic violators. The Houston Chonicle says that Police Chief Harold
Hurtt called yesterday for the installation of cameras at dangerous intersections and those near schools and hospitals. He said the move could make driving safer and free up more police officers to investigate crime.
“You don’t know how upsetting it is to police chiefs to be sitting at a red light and an individual comes up, stops, looks both ways and drives right through the red light. And I don’t have a ticket book,” Hurtt said.
Hurtt acknowledged that the issue of intersection cameras is surrounded by privacy and legal questions. Garland, a Dallas suburb, installed cameras in August. Intersection cameras are used in several cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Denver. They also are used in Phoenix and Oxnard, Calif. — two cities in which Hurtt has served as police chief.
Russ Rader of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in Arlington, Va., said research has shown that the cameras are effective. “Red-light cameras, accompanied by a broad media effort to make the public aware of the cameras’ presence, can have a big effect on reducing not only red-light violations but also crashes at intersections,” he said.