No more red light warnings after Feb. 4

January 26, 2010 3:35:23 AM PST
Red light cameras are up and running in the city of Conroe. Tickets aren't being handed out just yet and maybe drivers know that because they're running the red lights and racking up the violations. It's one more road sign that drivers are paying attention to -- a red light camera is just ahead.

"You're not going to make it go away, so you're going to have to accept that," said Conroe resident Hobie Searles.

A process three years in the making, the city of Conroe began testing 10 red light cameras earlier this month. Already, the cameras are catching 300 red light runners a day.

"I really wasn't expecting for it to be that," said Sgt. John Buckholtz with the Conroe Police Department. "I knew we had problem. I just didn't know it would be that many per day."

We're still in the month-long waiting period. But after February 4, if you run a red light in Conroe, you'll actually get a ticket. The citations will have a photo of your car and a price tag of $75. Local residents' reactions were mixed.

"I'm thinking it's a very good idea. We've got a lot of red light runners, especially since they know it's yellow, it's fixing to be red, and we'll have 3 cars go even after that," said camera supporter Angel Johnson. "It's very dangerous not having it."

"Invasion of privacy," countered opponent Scott McCloy. "It's like technology, so much? I don't know."

But the cameras are here to stay. In fact 4 of the 10 cameras are trained on one intersection -- Fraiser and the 336 Loop. And officers say either they or a camera will be watching.

"We had several approaches that average over 60 violations in 8 hours there," said Sgt. Buckholtz. "It's a dangerous intersection, a lot of accidents there."

This story was brought to you through our partnership with Houston Community Newspapers. You can read more about it in the Courier of Montgomery County.

In Houston, there are 70 red light cameras around the city. Calculating from when the first batch of cameras was installed back in September 2006, there are an average of 577 violators per day. Each violation is a $75 fine. We have the complete list of red light camera locations here.