DALLAS -- Red light cameras have dotted Dallas intersections since 2007.
On Wednesday the Dallas City Council voted for a $17 million contract to keep the red light running enforcement in place for the next seven years.
The move comes as more communities discontinue the usage of red light cameras, arguing they do not improve safety for drivers and are designed as a revenue generating stream for municipalities.
City staff briefed the council's public safety committee this week on the "Safelight Program" and cited a 48-percent reduction in red light running accidents as the primary reason to continue the program.
District 12 council member Sandy Greyson said she had concerns making sure all the money collected goes back into public safety programs.
Donzell Gipson, assistant director of the Dallas Police Department, told the committee the revenue does go to public safety but said there is no itemized account for how much each effort receives.
"That’s not such a great thing because we’ve always been accused as cities for wanting this revenue for other purposes, and I thought always said we put it right back into public safety programs," Greyson said.
District 14 Councilman Philip Kingston said Dallas needs to shift away from the cameras, citing research indicating the amount of rear-end collisions nationally have increased since communities started deploying the technology a decade ago.
“Traffic engineers around the world aren’t criticizing light timing, they are criticizing red light cameras," Kingston said. "I don’t know why it is in Dallas. We believe that peer reviewed research applies everywhere else accept here.”
The Texas Senate voted in March to ban red light cameras statewide. That body did the same during the 2015 session, but the House has yet to take up the legislation.
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