Texas Governor Greg Abbott gave the green light to banning red-light cameras in Texas after he signed House Bill 1631, which effectively bans red-light cameras across the state.
“Hi, Governor Greg Abbott here. At the capital on Sunday signing bills. I’m about to sign this bill that bans red light cameras in Texas,” the governor said in a video he posted on Twitter along with a caption.
“It is now law,” he says just after signing his signature on the bill.
Under the new law, cities in Texas can no longer issue tickets or fines “for an offense or violation based on a recorded image produced by a photographic traffic signal enforcement system.”
However, the law says cities currently under contract can keep their red light cameras in place until their contracts expire.
As we reported about last month, House Bill 1631 faced some opposition, arguing the cameras serve a purpose: to reduce deadly accidents — and bring revenue to trauma care and local government.
But Texas Senator Bob Hall faced the opposition with a binder containing 25 studies that suggested the opposite and covered the trauma funding loss objection by meeting with chamber budget writers, who came up with a way to make up the difference through another revenue stream
Residents in cities with red light cameras like Arlington and Fort Worth have already voted to remove cameras from intersections in their communities.
And, unlike the issue of legalizing marijuana, representatives are representing the people’s will — in this case.
Fort Worth’s contract with Verra Mobility expires in 2026.
But city attorney Sarah Fullenwider told the Star-Telegram this week that Fort Worth’s contract with the vendor would end as soon as Abbott signed the bill.
On the surface, it may seem like a loss for law enforcement.
But in reality, it provides a certain demand for police officers because cities will now have to employ officers to issue tickets at intersections.
The bigger issue might be about profit.
Texas cities have collectively netted $537 million from red light cameras since 2008.
The fear is some day cities may be forced to issue refunds for operating illegally by not following the law under Bill 1119, which was passed in 2007 and requires cities to conduct a traffic engineering study at red light camera locations to adjust timing of lights at intersections for safety purposes.
However, as KXAN reported in 2017, of 49 cities which they requested a certified engineering study required by law, only three, Abilene, Southlake and College Station actually hired professional engineers who signed off on the engineering studies.
Watch a full video into their investigation into red light cameras in Texas below.