Mr. Barrientos, the driver who was given a ticket in Grand Prairie, was among the nearly 200 people who wrote to the Grand Prairie Police Department when it announced this week that it was ending enforcement action. Some said the cameras could be put to better use, or wondered whether to pay current tickets and if they would be reimbursed for tickets they already paid.
“Donate the cameras to Keep Grand Prairie Beautiful to catch those litter bugs !!!!!” one person wrote on the department’s Facebook page. Another resident suggested the cameras be repurposed in places “where our neighborhoods continue to get robbed.”
In Plano, a city of about 300,000 in North Texas, there was an average of about 17 traffic crashes a day before the red-light camera program was started in 2006. Chief Gregory W. Rushin of the Plano Police Department said in an interview on Friday that accidents decreased by about a third since cameras, under a $ 2 million contract with Redflex, were placed at intersections with the highest number of red-light runners and accidents.
Drivers or vehicle owners can contest the video and snapshot evidence sent to them with the citation, he said. Revenue from the tickets goes to trauma centers and to future traffic safety programs. “It’s not a money grab,” he said. “We are trying to save lives.”
The use of red-light cameras in the United States started in New York City, which tested one in 1992 and then turned on more of them over the years. Other state and city governments gradually adopted them, and in 2018 there were about 400 communities in the United States that operated red-light camera programs, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
But more red-light cameras have been discontinued than added since 2012, the institute said.
In 2017, 890 people nationwide were killed in crashes that involved running a red light, over half of them pedestrians, bicyclists and people in other vehicles, the insurance institute said. There were about 827 such deaths a year on average, the safety administration said.
Supporters say the payments for the tickets contribute to government coffers, and use of the cameras reduces serious traffic accidents, such as front-into-side, or “T-bone,” collisions, according to studies cited by the insurance institute.