Lufkin man petitions to end red light cameras in the city

Published: Aug. 27, 2012 at 8:49 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 27, 2012 at 8:52 PM CDT
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LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Luther Barrow holds a ticket that would have cost him 75 dollars, but now it's 150 dollars. He says he would have paid it on time, but he's not even sure he should have been issued the ticket.

"I think it's just a money thing," said red light camera petitioner, Luther Barrow.

Lufkin has 13 active traffic cameras in the city, catching those who violate traffic procedures at red lights. Since getting the ticket, Barrow begin petitioning. He says it's not right. So far, he says he's received five hundred signatures.

"I feel like that we managed for years without them, so why should we have them now?" said Barrow.

The city signed a five year contract to have the cameras police traffic. They say they were intended to cut down on fatal accidents.

"They have achieved the objective of reducing the T-bones, which are the most deadly crashes. And, we've had very good success with them," said Lufkin City Manager Paul Parker.

But, Barrow disagrees.

"You got to constantly throw your brakes on and worry about, you know, if they're going to catch you on a yellow turning red or whatever," said Barrow.

He says the tickets are issued to a vehicle, not the driver. Since multiple people drive his car, he says it's hard to know for certain who the ticket belongs to. Barrow also argues bad weather can cause the cameras to make mistakes.

"What do they do when those red lights go to going off and on, taking pictures of everything? And, they do that," said Barrow.

The city says Barrow is the only complainant they've heard from, and for them, the pros outweigh the cons of the traffic cameras.

"This is a public safety issue. And, we will let that guide us, more than a petition. We're more interested in saving lives than we are removing traffic control devices," said Parker.

The city's red light camera contract is set to expire in June 2015. They expect to renew it at that time. No more cameras are set to go up at this time, but Parker says problem areas are evaluated periodically for the consideration of a traffic control device.

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