Denton County red light camera tickets no longer withhold vehicle registrations

Denton County red light camera tickets no longer withhold vehicle registrations

Denton County red light camera tickets no longer withhold vehicle registrations
October 04
22:59 2017

Last month, Denton County reversed their policy of withholding vehicle registration for those who have not paid their red light camera tickets. The decision was made by Michelle French, the tax assessor-collector of the county.

Since 2012, the “scofflaw” has been in effect at the Denton County Tax Office. Any vehicle owner who has not paid their red light ticket in 91 days has their vehicle registration withheld.

French said her office has received many complaints about the red light cameras, but it wasn’t the only issue considered.

“Several factors led to my final decision to not honor the red light camera law anymore,” French said. “Various departments helped me with the final decision.”

However, if a resident were to get a ticket from the North Texas Tollway Authority, that ticket is to be honored.

Talks of reversing this policy have been on the table in Denton County for years now. Read King, former House District 64 candidate, said he has been an advocate since the beginning.

“Some would argue it is only $75,” King said. “It’s not enough for most people to fight it and it’s easier to write a check as opposed to dealing with it, which helps the revenue come in. But if you look at the lower income, it hurts them because they can’t take off work or afford the $75.”

To renew vehicle registration, vehicle owners would first need to pay the $75 fee for the red light violation and another $25 for fees.

Now, as of September, the scofflaw is no longer observed by Denton County government.

“The few people I heard from were really happy we went through with this,” French said. “They were very appreciative of this.”

What used to be considered a criminal act is now a civil proceeding, as well as a civil suit. Now a warrant cannot be placed and the ticket cannot be reported to credit bureaus.

King said he thinks that if yellow lights are longer, it could save time, money and lives.

“The reality is that there have been documented cases across the United States where the yellow light is shortened and revenue increased,” King said. “If the light is longer by one second, you dramatically reduce the number of accidents in the area.”

The City of Arlington ended the holding in 2015 and the City of Richardson followed suit in 2016. This past July, Tarrant County Tax Assessor Ron Wright also said he wanted to end red light camera ticketing.

In April, the Texas Senate passed a bill to ban the use of red light cameras at intersections. Following that the Senate passed a bill to stop state and local governments from withholding vehicle registrations.

On the Facebook page Cam-Free Texas, residents have expressed their opinions and concerns over the past few years about vehicle registrations being withheld due to not paying red light tickets.

In July, a Denton County resident posted on the Cam-Free Texas page that she had the money to pay for the ticket and registration, but it is the principle behind why.

“The fact is this crosses any political line,” King said. “Those on far left sharing positive things as well as those on the far right. This is one of the issues that brings people together saying this isn’t right. We need to keep our people safe the right way and this isn’t it.”

The Texas Department of Transportation website states red light cameras are not there to make money.

“The objective of red light cameras is to improve intersection safety,” according to the site. “Fines collected through red light camera violations are used to pay for the installation, operation, administration and maintenance of the photographic enforcement system. Camera equipment costs vary based on the type of camera, the complexity of the intersection, and technical requirements. A red light camera system installation can cost more than $100,000. A portion of the revenue from the installation over and above costs is required to be directed to the regional trauma account and local traffic safety programs.”

Featured Image: A photo enforced sign at the intersection of Carroll Boulevard and Oak Street warns drivers to avoid running a red light and the $75 fine that follows. Sarah Schreiner

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Julia Falcon

Julia Falcon

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2 Comments

  1. Kaz
    Kaz October 05, 16:56

    Where can I find an official source for this information? After looking around for a bit the only place I am seeing this information is here.

    Reply to this comment
  2. jcwconsult
    jcwconsult October 07, 12:16

    The TxDOT statement that the cameras are for safety and not money is one of the very few outright falsehoods from TxDOT. The cameras are money grab rackets that could not exist financially without deliberately improper and less safe yellow intervals set too short for the ACTUAL perception/reaction times and ACTUAL approach speeds of at least 85% of the drivers (safest timing method). It is great news that Denton County will no longer support the money grab racket of red light cameras by withholding the registrations of mostly safe drivers deliberately trapped into making split second violations of red lights with deliberately too-short yellows. Red light cameras need to be illegal in every state as they are in some already, to forever shut down this money grab racket.

    James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

    Reply to this comment

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