Red-light cameras pay dividends

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Denton will soon have 15 operating red-light cameras — an addition of six — and local police tell us there’s a good reason for the increase — the cameras help reduce violations.

Since the Automated Traffic Signal Enforcement Program began in May 2006 with six cameras monitoring four intersections, police have seen a downward trend in red-light traffic violations, according to Capt. Scott Fletcher.

In fact, Fletcher informed us by e-mail, the city had a 13.3 percent reduction in violations at its nine camera approaches this past year.

In our view, that’s a pretty good argument for keeping existing cameras and installing more at dangerous intersections.

We’ve heard some people complain about the growing use of the cameras, but we don’t believe that their arguments hold water.

Making our city streets safer should be a goal that we all support, and according to police, red-light cameras can help.

And after all, drivers who follow the rules of the road and drive safely should have no reason to complain.

The city pays a flat rate of $4,870 per month to operate each camera, and from October 2012 through September 2013, the net profit from the camera citations paid was $322,989.98, according to Fletcher.

When you consider that violators are fined $75 for each violation, simple math will tell you that far too many drivers are putting themselves and others at risk by ignoring traffic signals.

Half of the profit from red-light cameras, Fletcher said, has to be sent to the state to fund area hospital trauma centers and the city retains the other half to be used for traffic safety enforcement equipment/improvements.

The new camera locations are: southbound Fort Worth Drive at Interstate 35E frontage road; northbound at Loop 288 and Spencer Road; eastbound and westbound at Lillian Miller Parkway/Loop 288 and I-35E frontage road; and eastbound and westbound University Drive/U.S. Highway 380 and the I-35 frontage road.

The police tell us that the new cameras have been going up for the past two months and the last should be installed by the end of this week. The new cameras go into effect immediately and there is no grace period.

That sounds fair to us. There are more drivers out there than ever before, and we’re tired of seeing so many of them ignore the rules of the road.

Installing more red-light cameras may not help them pay closer attention to traffic signals, but a few citations might just do the trick.

And that could help make the streets a little safer for everyone.


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