Red light cameras a success in Lufkin, so far

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - There are red light cameras all over town. There are eleven in Lufkin at nine of the busiest intersections.

"By in large, they are very functional and work very well for us.  So far 15,510 notices have been mailed out," says Lt. David Young, with the Lufkin Police.

That's an average of more than 1800 a month in the eight months the cameras have been up and running.

From November of 2006 to January of 2007, before cameras were installed, there were 29 accidents at the intersections. Between November of 2007 and January of 2008, there were seven.

"We were seeing a problem with red-light running, causing accidents. We found technology could help us solve that and we found it to be true and very effective for us," says Lt. Young.

It doesn't cost the city anything for the technology.  The $75 fine it cost when you run a light pays the company who runs the technology and the state and city get the rest.

Lt. Young says, "We call them events. Every time is makes that camera flash, it takes two pictures.  They (the technology company) download it once or twice a day.  They weed out funeral processions then send it to us. And we go through them. So it's actually reviewed twice before the notice goes out."

But Young says it's not just about fining people for running the lights, its helping with safety and investigations as well.

"We have actually seen a couple of accidents in our photos, yes.  The camera actually helped us very early on catch a hit and run driver. There was an accident and it got the license plate and the accident on camera."

If you get a notice, don't think you can get away without paying.

"Right now the collection rate is about 55-60%, but we expect that to increase as people who failed to pay these go to re-register their cars and they can't do that," says Young.

So pay attention and pay up if you get a notice, because Lt. Young says it's helping everyone out in the long run.