Denton Debates Future of Red Light Cameras

The Denton City Council did not take a vote on the future of red light cameras in the city at a Tuesday night meeting.

Instead, the council asked for more information on the cameras before they revisit the issue prior to July 2019, when their current contract expires.

In Denton, the cameras are posted at eleven intersections, which are clearly marked with signage stating violators who run red lights will face a fine of $75.  The program began in 2006 with six cameras, and was expanded in 2014.

Last year, drivers who had traffic light related violations were issued more than 33,000 tickets in Denton. Lawmakers have studied crash data, which showed an overall decrease in crashes at intersections with cameras.

Denton's contract with Redflex, a company that works to develop traffic safety solutions, expires in July of 2019. Recent controversy included the revelation that taxpayer money funded overtime for police officers who review red light camera footage and determine whether tickets be issued. City leaders said they resolved that funding issue.

The city netted about $668,000 dollars after shares of the program's $2.2 million gross were paid out to Redflex and the state of Texas. Denton's mayor said for him, the key issue is safety -- not money.

"The policy implication for the red light camera, in my opinion, is public safety," Denton Mayor Chris Watts said. "That's really our primary goal, how do we make intersections more safe."

The constitutionality of red light cameras is being challenged in Texas. That case is still pending in the Fifth District Court of Appeals.

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