City of Humble Mayor Merle Aaron responded to the assumption that he is upset with Austin for considering stopping the red-light cameras in Humble by chuckling and saying, “I’m not upset with Austin, I just think they’re wrong. The lights are there to help our citizens because people were getting mangled or killed.”
Every legislative session, various lawmakers try to outlaw the use of red-light cameras.
Red-light camera systems are aimed at helping reduce a major safety problem at urban and rural intersections, a problem that is estimated to produce more than 100,000 crashes and approximately 1,000 deaths per year in the United States, according to the Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology Department.
Humble’s red-light cameras went online Nov. 1, 2007, for Phase 1, which was five cameras. The second phase was also five cameras and they came online in 2008.
“In the past, we have had Life Flight here at least once per quarter and we’ve cut that back. Since having the lights, we’ve had very few people speeding, spinning out of control, and getting into to accidents. Everyone knows where those lights are and they slow down. That stretch going through Humble which is 1960 Bypass is much safer since the cameras have been up,” Aaron said.
“Before, we were really having people killed at the intersection of Highway 59 and 1960 Bypass on a regular basis,” said Aaron.
The Humble Police Department has contracted with American Traffic Solutions Inc. to provide the red-light camera enforcement program. The company installed and maintains all equipment related to the program and processes all violations before forwarding the data to the Humble PD for their review and issuance of citations. Intersections where cameras are installed are westbound 1960 Bypass and U.S. 59; westbound 1960 A (1st Street) and U.S. 59; westbound 1960 Bypass and Whitaker; eastbound 1960 Bypass and Whitaker; westbound 1960 Bypass and North Houston Ave.; eastbound 1960 Bypass and North Houston Ave.; westbound 1960 Bypass and Townsen Rd. - west of freeway; westbound 1960 Bypass and Townsen Rd. - east of freeway; eastbound 1960 Bypass and Townsen Rd. - east of freeway; and northbound U.S. 59 and 1960 Bypass.
“The only alternative to the cameras is putting a police officer at that intersection, which means we have to use the car, policeman, and money. Also, the ticket will be $300 instead of $75. The worst thing of all is that we would also be putting a police officer’s life in danger,” Aaron said.
How would Austin’s discussion to remove red-light traffic cameras affect Humble’s economy?
“I still believe in the red light cameras and I don’t understand why every city doesn’t have them. We don’t get all that money; the state gets some of the money. From the portion we keep, we give some of the money to Memorial Hermann Northeast hospital to help pay medical bills for those who can’t afford it. It’s a win-win for everybody. The red-light cameras allow us to have one less police officer out there, and a lot of people are alive today because those red-light cameras are there,” Aaron said.
The city reported that the total amount of money collected from Nov. 1, 2007 through Nov. 20, 2018 at 11 a.m. has been $30,324,658.07.
According to Humble PD’s website, there are certain circumstances in which a ticket can be dismissed. Here are a few examples: the traffic-control signal was not in proper position and sufficiently legible to an ordinarily observant person; the operator of the motor vehicle was acting in compliance with the lawful order or direction of a police officer; the operator of the motor vehicle was part of a funeral procession; the operator of the motor vehicle violated the instructions of the traffic-control signal so as to yield the right-of-way to an immediately approaching authorized emergency vehicle; the motor vehicle was being operated as an authorized emergency vehicle under Chapter 546 of the Texas Transportation Code and that the operator was acting in compliance with that chapter; or the motor vehicle was a stolen vehicle and being operated by a person other than the owner of the vehicle without the effective consent of the owner.
For more information on red-light cameras in the City of Humble, visit humblepolice.com/red-light-camera-faq.