According to the United States Department of Transportation, more than
100,000 traffic collisions and over 1,000 fatalities are caused by
running red lights every year. In 2008, there were more than 12,000 crashes due to red light
violations in Texas.
Thus, in 2017, Texas passed a law that gave cities the right to charge
drivers civil fines for running red lights. Local jurisdictions have the
authority to install red light cameras at intersections, which detect
vehicles that pass sensors after a traffic light has turned red.
Consequences of Failing to Pay a Red Light Ticket
If you fail to pay your ticket, the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles
(DMV) can refuse to register the vehicle allegedly involved in the violation—also
known as a “scofflaw block.” However, there are several counties—including
Harris County—which do not block vehicle registrations for outstanding
red light camera tickets. Additionally, there is a possibility that an
unpaid red light camera ticket can be reported to a credit bureau and
impact your credit score.
Banning Red Light Cameras
In March 2017, the Texas Senate has voted to ban the use of red light cameras
in traffic enforcement. While a law banning red light cameras appears
to be happening in the near future, the Senate had twice voted in recent
years to ban red lights cameras but the measures failed to pass the Texas House.
So, do not assume that because the violation was issued by a camera that
no one will be there to oppose you. If you have an outstanding ticket,
be prepared to present your case or consider hiring a lawyer.