Tickets For Running Lights Going Out Starting Tuesday - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

5/1/07-Longview

Tickets For Running Lights Going Out Starting Tuesday

It's the first official day for traffic light cameras at two Longview intersections. So from now on if you run those lights you can expect a ticket in the mail. We found out everything you need to know about the new system and just what qualifies as "running a light."

Starting Tuesday, these red light cameras mean business. If you're caught running a red light at the two intersections, Marshall Avenue and Spur 63, and Loop 281 and Fourth Street, expect an 85-dollar notice of violation in the mail. 

"I think it's a good idea...at the intersections where the cameras are, I'm more cautious to make sure I pay attention to the yellow lights so that I don't run through it," says Eleanor Lara, a motorist.

And that's ultimately what the city hopes the cameras will do--reduce accidents.

"I also see it as a money making thing for the city," says resident Bob Sims.

But Sergeant Shaun Pendleton says the city is not banking on the cameras to make money.

"Money from the cameras 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, etc.," says Pendleton.

So you don't get a ticket, here are a couple things to keep in mind:  Texas law says as long as you've entered an intersection before the light turns red, you have not violated the law. In fact, the cameras don't even start working until the light is red so if you're already in the intersection and it turns red, you're OK.

Also, be aware of how long a yellow light will stay yellow.

"The general rule of thumb is you can take the approach speed limit and divide that by ten, and that will give you the yellow time, say if you had 40 miles per hour speed limit, divide by ten, you'll have four seconds of yellow time," says City of Longview Traffic Supervisor Stan Hobbs.

We decided to do some timing of our own and found the yellow lights at the intersections with these cameras generally followed the rule.

Pendleton warns if you approach an intersection and the light turns yellow, slow down.  That way you're not caught red-handed running a red light. An important thing to note-- the violation is a civil one so it doesn't go against your driving record or insurance. The city is also working to install a camera system at another intersection soon. That intersection is still undetermined.

Tracy Watler/Reporting: tracy@kltv.com

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