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With Red Light Cameras, Awareness Makes a Huge Difference

San Antonio drivers are becoming increasingly aware that red light cameras are things to avoid. But there are many questions about what red light cameras look like, and why red light cameras exist that remain unanswered. For example, do red light cameras really make drivers safer, or are they just a way for cities to get more money? There are no clear answers to these questions, but knowing a little about why red light cameras are used and what to look out for could help motorists avoid potential violations.

About Red Light Cameras in San Antonio

First, motorists should be aware of San Antonio’s geography. San Antonio is a very large city. In terms of total land area, San Antonio occupies about 412.07 square miles. Over the last thirty years, San Antonio has annexed large sections of land, mostly in the northern portions of Bexar County. Many neighborhood associations in subdivisions that were originally constructed outside of the city limits end up petitioning the City of San Antonio for annexation. When the City approves these requests it increases revenue by adding more households to the City’s tax base.

For the the municipalities north of San Antonio, however, annexing adjacent neighborhoods to increase revenue is not an option. Rather, once they become overlapped by San Antonio’s rapid expansion, they become landlocked.In the process, their means of raising more revenue also becomes highly restricted. Balcones Heights is one municipality that has become completely surrounded by San Antonio’s expansion. This might explain why Balcones Heights has one of the most notorious red light camera systems in the San Antonio area.

Are red light cameras all about the money?

The argument that red light cameras are simply a means of raising revenue is not new. In 2010, voters in Houston approved a referendum to end the City’s red light camera system. The referendum was later overturned by a federal court. But before it was, the City of Houston had anticipated a financial loss of almost $10 million.

Red Light Cameras May Save Lives

Of course, there are arguments in favor of red light cameras. A 2011 study by the Texas Transportation Institute found a significant decrease in the number of crashes at intersections with red light cameras. Balcones Heights was not included in the study, but similarly reported a 40-60 percent drop in crashes around intersections with red light cameras.

How To Avoid Tickets

So what can area motorists do to avoid red light camera violations? While some claim that special products may block red light cameras, this is illegal and can create unwanted legal problems. First, increase your awareness of red light camera locations. Motorists should know when they are entering a municipality that has red light cameras and learn which intersections have them. In Balcones Heights, the red light cameras are concentrated along the Fredericksburg Road corridor en route to the UTSA Health Science Center. Second, motorists should learn how red light cameras function. In some cases, even a vehicle’s slight intrusion into an intersection while stopped at a red light will cause the camera to take a photo of the vehicle’s license plate. Third, the red light camera and the company responsible for them are not perfect. In all cases, a driver’s awareness makes all the difference.

If you know of any new red light camera locations send us a tweet @glaralaw or message us here on our webpage. If you or anyone you know is dealing with legal problems, call us at 210-209-8143 or 210-201-7599 for a FREE CONSULTATION! We can help!