Why has the City of El Paso decided to utilize red light cameras?
The City of El Paso believes that the Automated Red Light Camera Enforcement program will reduce the number of red light violations thereby reducing the number of red light crashes, and injuries associated with such crashes. The purpose of this program is to increase traffic safety in the City of El Paso. The goal of this program is to reduce the number of red light violations, red light crashes, and red light injury crashes without impacting city funds.
A nationwide study of fatal crashes at traffic signals in 1999 and 2000 estimated that 20 percent of the drivers involved failed to obey the signals. In 2005, more than 800 people were killed and an estimated 165,000 were injured in crashes that involved red light running. About half of the deaths in red light running crashes are pedestrians and occupants in other vehicles who are hit by the red light runners. (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, June 2007
In addition, a recent Federal Highway Administration study identified Texas as one of the worst states for red-light running. The financial costs of these accidents in Texas have been estimated at between $1.4 billion and $3 billion annually in medical, insurance, and related expenses. Red-light accidents often are among the worst because they generally involve vehicles crashing directly into the driver or passenger side of another car at high speeds. (Red-light Cameras in Texas: A Status Report; Texas House of Representatives House Research Organization, July 2006
Under what authority can the City of El Paso impose a civil penalty for running a red light?
In September 2003 the Texas Legislature ratified Senate Bill 1184, which amended Section 542.202 of the Texas Transportation Code. This amendment authorized municipalities to impose civil penalties against the owner of a motor vehicle for a violation of a municipal ordinance.
Title 12, Section 12.21 of the Municipal Code of the City of El Paso was enacted in November of 2005, which establishes a penalty to be assessed against the owner of a vehicle that enters an intersection after the light changes to red creating a dangerous intersection.
On June 15, 2007, Governor Rick Perry signed Senate Bill 1119, which became effective on September 1, 2007. This bill created Texas Transportation Code Chapter 707; establishing procedures for local entities that opted to use cameras to cite owners of vehicles that illegally run through red lights. Since then, The City of El Paso as amended its Ordinance to reflect modifications required by Senate Bill 1119.
Does a violation of this ordinance go on my driving record?
No. City Ordinance 12.21 establishes a civil penalty against the owner of the vehicle, not the operator. As such, it is not reported to the Texas Department of Public Safety. Failure to pay the civil penalty may result in the reporting to a collection agency and/or the county assessor-collector or the Texas Department of Transportation who may refuse to register a motor vehicle alleged to have been involved in the violation.
What if I wasn’t driving the car when the violation occurred?
As stated above, City Ordinance 12.21 establishes liability against the registered owner, not the operator.
What if I did not own the vehicle when the violation occurred?
Under these circumstances proof of sale would need to be submitted for the violation to be dismissed. A copy of the bill of sale would be sufficient to meet this requirement.
What if my car was stolen when this violation occurred?
City Ordinance 12.21.050 establishes 9 defenses to prosecution for violation of this ordinance. A person whose vehicle had been reported stolen when a violation occurred would simply need to provide the jurisdiction and report number where the offense was reported.
What if I run a red light and am cited by an officer, then receive a Notice of Violation in the mail for the same offense?
Under these circumstances the Notice of Violation issued pursuant to a violation of City Ordinance 12.21 would be dismissed. The violator would still be responsible for the citation issued by an officer for violation of Transportation Code Section 544.007.
How do the red light cameras work?
Each intersection equipped with Automated Red Light Camera equipment will have a series of digital cameras installed near the roadway. These cameras will consist of two digital still cameras and a digital video camera. Utilizing a passive sensor, the system will detect when the signal light changes to red. The detection system will trigger when a vehicle enters an intersection after the light changes to red. The first digital still camera will capture two images, scene A and scene B. Scene A will show the vehicle prior to entering the intersection while the light is red, while scene B will show the vehicle in the intersection while the light is red. The photographs will display the time, date, and location of the offense as well as the amount of time the light was red when the image was captured. Also the speed limit of the roadway and the speed of the vehicle at the time of the violation will appear on the photograph. The second digital camera will capture a close-up image of the rear license plate of the vehicle. And finally, the digital video will capture 12 seconds of video, depicting the 6 seconds prior to and the 6 second following the violation. The 3 digital still images will be included when a Notice of Violation is issued. Also, a link to a web page will be noted on the Notice of Violation to allow viewing of the 12 second video.
What is the penalty for violating M.C. 12.21?
A civil penalty of $75 is assessed for each violation.
How do I contest a Notice of Violation issued for violating M.C. 12.21?
Notices of Violation may be appealed to an Administrative Hearing Officer. Details on how to schedule a hearing will be included on the Notice of Violation.
If after a hearing I am held liable by the Administrative Hearing Officer is there a means to appeal this?
Yes, a person found liable by the Administrative Hearing Officer may appeal this finding to the El Paso Municipal Court. Instructions on how to schedule an appeal will be available from the Administrative Hearing Officer as well as from the Municipal Court Clerk’s Office.
Who pays for the red light cameras?
This program will be funded by those who refuse to stop at red lights and violate the City Ordinance.
What happens to the revenue generated from the penalties assessed by the red light cameras?
All revenue from Notices of Violation will go towards paying for the program.
Will the red light cameras take a picture of the driver of the vehicle?
No. This is a civil violation assessed against the owner of the vehicle; it is not a criminal violation. As such there is no need to identify the driver, and therefore no need to capture an image of the driver.
If I am in the intersection waiting to turn left and my light changes to red will I receive a Notice of Violation?
No. It is a violation to enter the intersection after the light has changed to red.
Who is providing the red light cameras to the City of El Paso?
Redflex Traffic Solutions, Inc. was awarded the contract to provide a turn-key solution for the Automated Red Light Camera Enforcement program. Redflex will install, maintain, and service all equipment associated with this program. Furthermore, Redflex will process and review all violations captured by the equipment. Redflex will then provide the El Paso Police Department all evidence of the violation. An El Paso Police Officer will review all evidence and ensure a violation has clearly been committed. Once verified by a sworn peace officer Redflex will be authorized to create and mail all Notices of Violation.
Does Redflex get a percentage of the revenue generated from the issuance of Notices of Violation?
No, Redflex will receive a fixed monthly fee for their services.
Can Redflex tamper with the timing of the red light to create violations?
No. In order to tamper with the signal light Redflex would have to have access to the computer controlling the lights, which will not be given. In order to arm the system Redflex will place a passive sensor on the electrical leads to the signal lights. This sensor will detect the change in electrical current necessary to change the light from green to yellow to red.
|Resler and Mesa|
Hawkins and Montana
Sunland Park and Mesa Hills
Gateway North and Trans Mountain
Rushing and Woodrow Bean
Zaragoza and Gateway East
Zaragoza and Gateway West
Campbell and Missouri
Mesa and Sunland Park
McCombs and Sun Valley|
Gateway North and Kenworthy
Joe Battle and Rojas
Joe Battle and Montwood
Redd and Resler
Lee Trevino and Montwood
Americas and Alameda
Airways and Montana
Montwood and Zaragoza
Why were these locations selected?
Several factors were considered in our selection of the intersections. We reviewed current and historical trends of red light crashes at all locations, geographic location in the city, current and future construction plans at the intersection, and the extent of red light running as determined by a survey completed by Redflex.
Where will additional cameras be installed?
Analysis of future locations is still ongoing.
When did the City of El Paso begin operations?
The warning period began on September 15, 2006. During the warning period violators received a warning notice rather than a Notice of Violation. This warning did not incur a fine. On October 31, 2006 the warning period ended and enforcement began.
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