February 9, 2006

Houston Gives the Red Light Special

by PG

Not in the TLC sense.

Don't Go Too Fast. Houston's red light cameras have caught over 600 drivers running red lights. The current penalty when caught by photography is a warning, and it will be increased only to a $75 fine. Toward the end of the Chronicle's article are a few interesting legal concerns. Of greatest interest to me is the disparity between the $75 civil penalty for vehicle owners whose cars go through a red light on camera, and the Class C misdemeanor criminal citation with a maximum $200 fine issued by police officers.

The American Civil Liberties Union believes that violates the U.S. Constitution's Equal Protection Clause.
Scott Henson, director of the group's Texas Police Accountability Project, said: "If I run a red light and get a civil fine, and you run a red light and get a criminal charge, we are not getting equal protection under the law."
The issue has not been litigated in Texas, Henson said.
There's also an unresolved question about whether Houston can install the cameras on roads where the municipality and the state share jurisdiction, which Grits for Breakfast covers well along with the other problems. The Federal Highway Administration has a good compilation of cases challenging red light cameras.

Don't Go Too Slow.

Critics have cited an increase in rear-end collisions, likely a result of motorists stopping suddenly to avoid tickets.
A 2005 study by the Federal Highway Administration showed that in seven communities where red-light cameras were being used, right-angle crashes decreased 24 percent while rear-end crashes increased 15 percent. Right-angle crashes are usually more severe, according to the Highway Administration.

You got to let your auto flow...

February 9, 2006 6:01 AM | TrackBack
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

Sitting in Review
Armen (e-mail) #
PG (e-mail) #
Dave (e-mail) #
Craig (e-mail) #
About Us
Senior Status
Chris Geidner #
Jeremy Blachman #
Nick Morgan #
Wings & Vodka #
Recent Opinions
Persuasive Authority
De Novo Reporter

Powered by
Movable Type 5.02