A referendum passed last November forced the city of Houston to take down red-light cameras. However, in less than six months motorists appear to be taking up the practice of running the stops.
According to data collected by the camera service provider, ATS, 10 high-traffic intersections have seen substantial red-light violations since the mechanisms were removed. The intersection of Richmond Avenue and Hillcroft Avenue saw offenders dip from 5,628 in 2009 to 2,532 in 2010, then spike back to 3,799 during the opening months of 2011. In another example, the intersection of Southwest Freeway and Fountainview saw violations fall to as low as 811 in 2010 before that number rose to 2,981 this year.
“This is a reversal of the trend,” said Charles Territo of ATS. “Driver behavior was changing because they knew the cameras were there, or they’d gotten a ticket. The cameras can’t prevent accidents, but what they do is change driver behavior over time.”