Red light cameras reduce accidents at Lufkin intersections

By Lane Luckie - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Since 2007, thousands of Lufkin drivers have been ticketed, caught red-handed by red light cameras. They've forked over thousands of dollars in fines.

The City said the red light cameras are making streets safer numbers to prove they are working.

So-called "camera cops" are watching nine Lufkin intersections. Brittany Harris found out the hard way. She said, "It went yellow, red. It was fast as a flash."

The ticket came as a big surprise, not just for her. "I didn't get it (the ticket) in the mail, my grandma did because the car was in her name."

Harris' grandmother said they both learned an important lesson. "I think it makes them much more aware that the red light is to be obeyed."

The City of Lufkin said red light cameras are making the streets safer. Since they were installed, the number of accidents in monitored intersections is down 24 percent. The number wrecks in the lanes leading up to an intersection were nearly cut in half.

While the number of accidents is down, the city is collecting big bucks on red light runners. However, not all the money stays with the city. The company that operates the cameras, Traffipax, charged more than a half million dollars last year. After the State got its portion, the City brought in slightly more than a hundred thousand dollars.

That's enough though, to deter drivers. Jerry Langford said, "I got a couple of tickets from them, it's made me more cautious. I watch every intersection"

Tickets aside, Harris said she'll think twice before running a red light, especially with her precious cargo on board, namely her baby. "I need to be more careful and I am going to be more careful," she said.

Some cities like Lubbock and Garland have actually removed traffic cameras because they were ineffective at reducing the number of accidents or were too expensive to maintain. However, there are no plans to make those changes here in Lufkin.