Dallas-area motorists may be among the most photographed in the nation as local cities over the last 18 months have installed nearly 150 cameras designed to catch red-light runners, reports the Dallas Morning News. In the four years since Garland became the first Texas city to use the cameras, nearly 20 local communities have followed suit with the aim of making intersections safer. At least seven more, including Fort Worth, plan to set up cameras soon. By early next year, there will be more than 200 cameras watching North Texas intersections – double the number in New York City. Dallas, with 60 cameras, has nearly twice as many as Los Angeles.
Starting Saturday, Texas law will divert to the state some of the fees collected from violators. The state law caps civil fines for red-light camera violations at $75, requires a 50/50 profit split with the state, and allows cities to spend profits only on public safety and traffic programs, while the state’s profits go to trauma care in the region where the money was collected. Officials cite a battery of statistics as evidence that the cameras – and the $75 civil fines for violations – are working. Denton, which put six cameras at four intersections, has reported a 68 percent drop in red-light violations at those locations. Farmers Branch saw a 34 percent decline in accidents at intersections equipped with cameras. Frisco reports a 27 percent drop. A Federal Highway Administration study found that while the number of severe broadside collisions fell, rear-end crashes increased by 15 percent.