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Old June 1st, 2009
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Default Traffic Camera Lobbyists Score Big Win in Texas Legislature

A follow-up to the previous news article.

The companies that operate traffic enforcement cameras scored total victory in the Texas legislature late Saturday as key lawmakers not only ditched a plan to sunset the use of red light cameras and lengthen yellow warning times at intersections, but they also approved a number of brand new opportunities for automated ticketing firms.

The House had introduced the longer yellow provision as a safety measure in response to a Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) study that documented a 40 percent decrease in collisions after testing the benefits of increasing the yellow (view study), but photo enforcement companies and local jurisdictions opposed the provision because it would have reduced ticket revenue.

The bill also recodifies provisions designed to make it a crime punishable by a $100 fine to have a license plate that cannot be read by an automated ticketing machine. This helps as the legislation creates a new "video billing" option offered by several automated ticketing companies for the purpose of collecting revenue on toll roads. The bill also encourages increasing the number of toll roads -- and consequently more video-based toll collection and enforcement systems -- by allowing "non-compete" contracts that effectively forbid improvements on free roads within a four-mile radius of any toll road.

A controversial automated license plate surveillance program was dropped at the last minute. The final bill also dropped an amendment clarifying that an existing ban on municipalities operating speed cameras applies to county governments and TxDOT.

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Old June 1st, 2009
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Originally Posted by EscortRadar View Post
...Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) study that documented a 40 percent decrease in collisions after testing the benefits of increasing the yellow (view study), but photo enforcement companies and local jurisdictions opposed the provision because it would have reduced ticket revenue...
Well, I need to see if TTI also conducted a separate study of intersection accident rate increases due to shortening yellow light timings. The very fact that the photo enforcement companies and local jurisdictions opposed the bill's provision for revenue gain versus safety makes them directly liable for damages due to increased accident rates for all RLC equipped intersections which have shortened yellow light durations and which do not meet TDOT/MUTCD criteria.
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