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February 23, 2009

Red light cameras ... Are some cities getting petty?

Red light camera Some motorists have reported getting red light camera tickets for for less serious offenses, such as failure to stop before a white line.

*Burleson Mayor Ken Shetter's response to this article is in the comments below.

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Comments

Star-Telegram

Gordon,

I wanted to provide you with some follow-up information to your article on red light cameras. I know the perception with some is that cities are simply churning out as many tickets as possible and that this is about making money for cities. I can tell you that, in Burleson, from the beginning we recognized that the number of tickets would likely decrease as people became accustomed to the cameras being in place. We always felt like that was a positive thing. Also, it should be noted that in Burleson we have a sworn officer review every ticket before it is issued—a large percentage of the violations that are forwarded to us by the red light company for citation are actually rejected. Here are the statistics for 2008:

As of Dec 31, 2008:

REVIEWED 15,561

**ISSUED 10,673 (VIOLATIONS MAILED)**

REJECTED 4,888

% approved 69%
% rejected 31%

I believe in most cases the discretion of the officers that review the violations has benefited the driver in “close call” situations.

Finally, it seems to be a common argument that a city should not issue tickets to those who turn right on red without stopping. If one really believes the practice of turning right on red without stopping is not dangerous then they should petition the legislature to change our traffic laws. As long as it is illegal it should be treated like other infractions.

Thanks,

Ken Shetter

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