Mixed Feelings on Red Light Cameras in Odessa City Council Meeting 8/27/13
CBS 7 News
August 27, 2013
Odessa, TX - After a presentation Tuesday night, given by Arizona-based company American Traffic Solutions (ATS) the floor was opened to the public. Not everyone agreed with the product.
Ben Upton a former trauma ER specialist was one of them. He says red light cameras are not the best use of the city's money.
“It's a waste of money on everyone's part and the city could use the money for traffic enforcement officers,” he said.
David Jackson with ATS disagrees. In his presentation he showed multiple wrecks where the camera was handy in investigations.
Jackson says taxpayers pay nothing.
The company would pay the up front cost to install the cameras at close to $5,000 each.
The city would then pay it back with the revenue it makes from the tickets drivers pay for running a red light.
Does the company bank on drivers running red lights?
“Banking is not the right term I would use,” said Jackson, “But the key to this is to find the most dangerous intersections with high crash rates and a high violation rate and where the two overlap is the best place to use photo enforcement. What we’re doing is using technology to save lives and save officers’ time to do other police work.”
Jackson says the common question asked is if this would invade privacy. He says the cameras are directed behind the car and identities would not be shown.
There were a couple of people who supported the red light cameras
Mark Powers, a Nimitz Junior High student was one of them. He crosses a busy intersection on Maple Street on his way to school.
"It's nice to know that people are trying to be safe," he said.
Each ticket would cost $75. The city would install ten red light cameras at major intersections throughout the city.
Jackson says the ticket would be written out to the person registered to the car, but if that person wasn't driving the car at the time, for example if the owners are the driver’s parents, then the ticket can be redirected after the owner (ex. Parent) signs an affidavit and sends it to the police department.
After the cameras are paid off from the ticket-revenue the city says the funds would be split in half for the state and a trauma program.
This was a public hearing, CBS 7 will keep you update on where this project goes from here.