There were nearly 800 intersection-related accidents in the city of Longview just last year and we're told that's why you'll now see red light cameras hooked up at two of the busiest intersections. The process began back in October when the Longview City Council unanimously approved a proposal to install the cameras. Then last month, construction began on the poles that support the system. And now, the cameras are officially up and running.
It's often a common site at busy intersections in Longview--a car, or even two, speeding through a red light. But now, you'll also see a flashing strobe light taking a picture of that car.
"I think it's a good idea cause lots of people run that light right there, dangerous, it's unnecessary," says O'Cliff Culpepper, a Longview resident.
The cameras are up at two intersections: Spur 63 and Marshall Avenue and Fourth Street and Loop 281.
A white box near the intersection holds two cameras, one that will take a video of your car running the red light, the other that will take a still picture of rear license plate and that's when you'll see the strobe lights flashing.
After an officer reviews the video, you'll be sent a notice of violation in the mail. It includes the pictures taken of your car running the red light.
You can contest the violation, but it is a civil violation so it doesn't go on your driving record and it won't affect your insurance. But some people are skeptical.
"Different situations call for different things and you can't really discuss your particular situation right off the bat...I just like more of the personal touch where you actually get to deal with the officer at the scene," says Kyle Patrick, a Longview resident.
"If in fact you receive a notice of violation in the mail and you've let somebody borrow your car that's something you're going to have to work out with them because the notice of violation will be sent the registered owner of the vehicle," says Sergeant Shaun Pendleton with the Longview Police Department.
Also the cameras don't start working until the light is red so if you're already in the intersection and it turns red, you're okay. As for what's being done with the money from the $85 violations..."it all goes to pay for the cameras, and once that's paid any excess money is coming to the city and we're using that for overtime for the officers that are reviewing the footage and stuff," Pendleton says.
You still have time to get used to this. That's because the next 30 days are considered a grace period.
When the 30 days are up and the program begins, you'll actually be able to go online and view the video of you allegedly running a red light.
The Police Department says one more intersection will likely have a red light camera installed soon, but it's not known which one yet.