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Red Light Tickets Go Mostly Unpaid, New Study Shows

The numbers are shocking, and leading some lawmakers to consider major changes to the system.

When it comes to the relationship between the American people and traffic laws, many of us believe that we got off on the wrong exit.

Sure, there are plenty of very well vetted laws, backed by science and experience, that keep us safe while we’re gassing around on one of our two or four-wheeled joyrides, but there is also a whole lot of willy-nilly enforcement to be had as well.

Speed limits, especially on the highway, are more like a suggestion these days, where maintaining the posted suggestion of 50mph on certain interstates would have you flattened in a heartbeat.

Then, on a country byway, you could find yourself with sirens and lights behind you for going 35mph in a 30.

On top of all this, we have traffic cameras posted at major intersections all around this great nation of ours, waiting to catch us doing something wrong.  This infuriating bit of Big Brother-style entrapment feels more than a little invasive in a land where the pursuit of happiness is guaranteed, and where it is required by law to insure your vehicle.

Maybe that’s why nobody is paying the tickets that these cameras produce…especially in Texas.

In Fort Worth last year, 224,307 tickets were mailed to motorists who run ran red lights or didn’t stop long enough before turning right. Of those, 106,580 were paid and 116,074 were sent to collections agencies, city records for the 2018 fiscal year showed.

This is prompting lawmakers to consider changes to the system, with some calling for the outlawing of the cameras entirely.

“This definitely violates due process. If your accuser is a camera, you cannot face him in court,” state Rep. Jonathan Stickland, the Bedford Republican who is helping lead this effort, recently told a legislative committee. “The most outrageous aspect of red-light cameras to me is how it turns our legal system upside down. You are guilty until you prove yourself innocent.

Police in Texas maintain that the cameras are an extremely effective way of correcting bad behavior on the part of Lone Star State drivers.

Of course, given what we know about the amount of red light tickets that actually get paid in Texas…how effective can they truly be?


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