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Lubbock ceases red light camera operations

The city of Lubbock has discontinued its red light camera program.

[Lubbock City] council voted 4-3 to remove the cameras. Mayor David Miller and Councilman Jim Gilbreath, who supported the program last year, cast the deciding votes to kill it. They joined Councilmen Todd Klein and John Leonard, who have consistently opposed the program.

“Statistics are in favor of keeping them, but if you listen to the citizens, I believe the majority of them would prefer this issue go away,” Miller said. “I’m elected by the people; I’m going to try to do their will every chance I get.”

The cameras have been installed at 12 intersections in Lubbock since last year. A report detailing the cameras’ first six months of use, released in January, showed a spike in rear-end collisions at intersections with and without the cameras.

Opponents of the system have said studies show the cameras are affecting drivers’ behavior for the worse. But the company, ATS, said six months of data is not enough time to judge them. It also said the cameras are working – accidents with injuries have dropped at the 12 locations.

ATS collected more than $295,000 in fines from drivers caught by the Lubbock cameras in the first six months of operation.


The city had collected about 70 percent of the fines from thousands of tickets issued last year, but it admitted it had no teeth in its ability to enforce collections. The city also had yet to make more money than ATS billed, meaning all the money had gone to the company. The city was not responsible for the difference.

Still, most council members have been adamant that the cameras are about safety, not money.

“It’s against the law to run a red light,” Councilman Floyd Price said. “I don’t care if a bird sees you or a camera sees you – it’s against the law.”

Price, along with Councilwomen Linda DeLeon and Phyllis Jones, supported keeping the cameras up to gather at least a year’s worth of data.

Miller said he thought the program was working as well but that it was distracting from other projects at City Hall. The number of red-light violations the cameras recorded were cut almost in half in the first six months.

More information, via Grits, is here. Looking at all this, it sounds like Lubbock’s implementation was not optimal, though the results they got were by no means all bad. I don’t get any sense that something similar is going on in Houston, but I suppose we’ll find out eventually for sure. Have I mentioned that I’m very eager to see what Houston’s red light camera data shows in terms of accidents and injuries?

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One Comment

  1. When you see those data, be sure to look closely at the methodology. This came up a lot when I worked on the issue for ACLUTX:

    The big distinction is whether a rear-end accident is considered “in the intersection.” If you count rear-enders, nearly every study shows an increase in accidents, with mixed results on decreasing INJURY accidents. If you define a rear-ender as not being “in the intersection,” the number of accidents declines – that’s the methodology used in most company backed studies that show declines in accidents.