Texas Red Light Camera Laws
According to the United States Department of Transportation, more than 100,000 traffic collisions and over 1,000 fatalities are caused by running red lights every year. In 2008, there were more than 12,000 crashes due to red light violations in Texas.
Thus, in 2017, Texas passed a law that gave cities the right to charge drivers civil fines for running red lights. Local jurisdictions have the authority to install red light cameras at intersections, which detect vehicles that pass sensors after a traffic light has turned red.
Consequences of Failing to Pay a Red Light Ticket
If you fail to pay your ticket, the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) can refuse to register the vehicle allegedly involved in the violation—also known as a “scofflaw block.” However, there are several counties—including Harris County—which do not block vehicle registrations for outstanding red light camera tickets. Additionally, there is a possibility that an unpaid red light camera ticket can be reported to a credit bureau and impact your credit score.
Banning Red Light Cameras
In March 2017, the Texas Senate has voted to ban the use of red light cameras in traffic enforcement. While a law banning red light cameras appears to be happening in the near future, the Senate had twice voted in recent years to ban red lights cameras but the measures failed to pass the Texas House.
So, do not assume that because the violation was issued by a camera that no one will be there to oppose you. If you have an outstanding ticket, be prepared to present your case or consider hiring a lawyer.