LEON VALLEY, Texas – Governor Greg Abbot wants to ban the use of red light cameras throughout Texas claiming it causes more accidents than it prevents.
The City of Leon Valley launched their red light cameras earlier this year. There are eight intersections with red light cameras along busy Bandera Road and plans to add even more are in the works.
“I’d love enough to more than sit down Governor Abbott and show him the facts that we deal with here in Leon Valley and show him the accidents and the reductions that we’re seeing,” said Chief Joe Salvaggio with the Leon Valley Police Department.
Abbott has always been vocal against the use of the traffic gadgets. In the past, he has tried to get rid the cameras before, but has been unsuccessful.
The recommendation was announced again on Monday as part of a new public safety plan for the state. Abbott said the equipment is expensive, raises constitutional questions and also cites studies that claim the cameras cause more accidents.
Officials with Leon Valley said they have their own data that supports the opposite.
“If the legislation were to pass, it would be bad for Leon Valley. Because in a six month period we’ve been able to show a reduction in individuals who run red lights by 25 percent. The first month that was measured, we had about 9,000 citations that were issued. Last month, we’re down to 6,500,” said Leon Valley City Manager Kelly Kuenstler.
Revenue coming from red light cameras has created new police positions. Three traffic officers have been added to the department and another position could be opening up soon. Their duties include patrolling neighborhoods and school zones and also responding to crashes.
If Abbott’s legislation goes through, the new positions would disappear.
“It’s not about the citations and the money or anything like that. It’s the reduction. The 25 percent that we’ve seen in the actual incidents of red light running,” said Salvaggio.
The city is already studying several intersections to place additional red light cameras.
“We need input from Leon Valley residents; Leon Valley law enforcement and statically data that we have in order to make the decision that is best for our city. We need our city counselors to make the decision that is best for our city. Not the legislator in Austin,” said Kuenstler.
The devices will be proposed to the Leon Valley city council for approval.