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Many communities in the state of Texas have installed red light cameras at busy intersections. These cameras take a picture of the license plate of a vehicle running a red light. The DMV then sends a ticket to the motorist who is registered as owner of the vehicle in question.

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A 2007 law, SB 1119, allows cities in Texas to follow this practice, charging a civil penalty of $75 for each violation. However, the same law required local governments that install red light cameras to conduct an engineering study to ascertain other ways that crashes caused by people running red lights could be initiated for the intersection in question.

However, a recent story on KXAN-TV in Austin found that only three Texas cities, Abilene, College Station, and Southlake, are in compliance with the law. Every other local government in Texas that has installed red light cameras has ignored the engineering requirement in the 2007 law, which makes the devices illegal. The installation of illegal red light cameras means that local governments that have collected fines as a result of people being photographed running red lights may have to be refunded.

The Houston Chronicle notes that law suits disputing fines collected as a result of the red light cameras have already started. In the meantime, Sen. Don Huffines, R-Dallas has proposed a renewed attempt to pass legislation banning the cameras entirely. Such legislation would prove to be popular with Texas motorists, who tend to view the red light cameras as an invasion of privacy, but opposed by local officials, police departments, and trauma medical professionals who maintain that they cut down on accidents.

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