SB 714

84(R) - 2015
Senate Transportation
Senate Transportation
Transportation & Infrastructure

Vote Recommendation

  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Positive
  • Neutral


Bob Hall


Konni Burton
Donna Campbell
Brandon Creighton
Lois Kolkhorst
Jane Nelson
Charles Perry

Bill Caption

Relating to the use of automated traffic control systems and photographic traffic signal enforcement systems.

Fiscal Notes

Estimated Two-year Net Impact to General Revenue Related Funds for SB714, Committee Report 1st House, Substituted: a positive impact of $96,488,000 through the biennium ending August 31, 2017. The General Revenue gain of $96,488,000 is a result of the bill's abolition of GR Account 5137 which would result in the account's balance being deposited to the credit of the General Revenue Fund as of the effective date of the bill; it is not a net gain to certification.

Bill Analysis

The bill would amend Section 542.2035 of the Transportation Code to which prohibits a local government from entering into an agreement with a third-party to have a red-light camera. It also prohibits any civil or criminal penalty from being filed as a result of a traffic violation that is recorded by a red-light camera. 

Vote Recommendation Notes

This legislation would ban red-light traffic cameras, or a local governments ability to be able to enter into an agreement with a third-party vendor to install or utilize a traffic camera. Evidence that red-light traffic cameras make the roads safer is dubious at best. In fact, it many cases it makes intersections more dangerous, as it causes drivers to decide to make an abrupt stop when a traffic light turns to yellow to avoid getting photographed by one of these cameras, ultimately causing rear-end collisions.

Even more troubling is the fact that some studies indicate that some municipalities use red light cameras for revenue generation under the guise of public safety. Some municipalities have been caught shortening period of the yellow light at intersections with red light cameras relative to the period of time allocated for yellow lights at other intersections not enforced by camera. The clear conclusion of such behavior is that in those cases the purpose of the cameras was never to enhance public safety but to generate more revenue by causing people to run more red lights. This tactic is reprehensible and obviously makes those intersections less safe than they would otherwise be with the yellow light set to the same interval as normal intersections.

We do not accuse any Texas municipalities of engaging in this behavior, but note that it is a problem elsewhere and there is no reason to believe Texas municipalities may not fall prey to the same temptation. The purpose of government is not to generate revenue by tricking motorists into running more red lights. The temptation to do so should not even be on the table.

We support this legislation for it's commitment to limiting government's overregulation and enforcement of intersections for a purpose weighted more on revenue generation, not commuter safety.