As red light camera fight heads to Texas Supreme Court, many cities may be operating them illegally

When the Texas Legislature approved the measure that allowed the installation of red light cameras, it added a provision to the bill that was theoretically supposed to ensure that red light cameras, when used, would be used to promote safety and not merely to raise revenue for Texas municipalities.

According to the bill, “Before installing a photographic traffic signal enforcement system at an intersection approach, the local authority shall conduct a traffic engineering study of the approach to determine whether, in addition to or as an alternative to the system, a design change to the approach or a change in the signalization of the intersection is likely to reduce the number of red light violations at the intersection.” The law further specifies that the study must be performed by an outside professional engineering firm, and not by the city’s own engineers.