It’s time for red light cameras to be removed
Proposition 3 was recently defeated by a 53 to 47 percent margin, removing the red light cameras in Houston. Houston isn’t the only city that is plagued with these cameras. It is believed that this decision will influence cities that still have these cameras running, like Dallas, Austin, Fort Worth, League City and Arlington.
Driving in this city is always a pain, with passive aggressive drivers going under the speed limit and other drivers cutting you off because you don’t drive to their standards. But the most painful part is accidently running a red light or being accused of doing so. If you’ve been photographed — despite your possible innocence — a ticket will arrive in the mail along with an Arizona return address for your fine.
In 2006, the city of Houston made a contract with a private company in Arizona, American Traffic Solutions, to install the cameras, and citizens reacted in mixed ways. Advocates of the cameras see them as a good call, claiming a reduction in accidents. Opponents claim that the cameras do the opposite and that the red light systems are a form of big government.
However, even with Proposition 3 defeated, Houstonians should expect these cameras to remain running for some time.
The Arizona private company states that there is a 120-day cancellation notice on the contract, and the city of Houston states that it is impossible to break said contract because the fees are too expensive.
If the citizens voted against the red light cameras, haven’t they won fair and square? It is understandable that there are fees to pay, as with any other broken contract. But when it comes to a political matter, it is important to abide by the rules. We have voted the cameras out, and it seems like the city wants to continue to get as much money from tickets as they can until they have to definitely remove them.
Mayor Annise Parker has said that with the removal of the cameras, the city will face budget cuts of $10 million, a gap created by the voters’ decision.
But the city has voted and it’s time to remove all the cameras, whether drivers are put at risk or not. It is now the responsibility of the driver to respect traffic signals. The city of Houston should pay the fee to break the contract, even though it might be pricey. If we can respect their laws, then the least the city can do is respect our decisions.
Margarita Campos is a creative writing sophomore and may be reached at [email protected].