Petition submitted to put Sugar Land’s red light camera issue to a vote

By Betsy Dolan

The New Territory man who is crusading against Sugar Land’s red light cameras claimed victory this week when a petition with 3,300 signatures was delivered to the City Secretary.

Captain H. F. Van Der Grinten, known as Captain Van, is hoping at least 2,835 of the signatures belong to verified City of Sugar Land voters.

“We aren’t sure how long it will take to validate the signatures but we are hoping this issue will be put on the November ballot,” Captain Van said.

The City of Sugar Land says that extensive studies since 2009 show red light cameras have reduced accidents more than 58% at targeted intersections. The city currently has nine red light cameras, the two newest being recently installed at Highway 90 and Dairy Ashford.

“Red light cameras encourage motorists to stop at red lights, which save lives,” said Doug Adolph, City of Sugar Land spokesman. “(They) also allow police officers to focus on other important efforts, such as special teams that focus on burglaries and other areas of emphasis.”

Captain Van says he is not suggesting that people run red lights but he is skeptical of the city’s claim that red light cameras prevent accidents. He takes issue with three things: the ticket being issued to the car’s owner instead of the driver; the need for a longer yellow light and Captain Van’s assertion that 60% of the tickets are not actually issued to red light runners but to motorists who are making a rolling stop in order to turn right.

“Red light cameras are a revenue scam. They have nothing to do with safety. It is disturbing that the city keeps touting this as a safety issue. There is no real proof that red light cameras save lives and reduce accidents,” Captain Van said.

Adolph says the City of Sugar Land is reviewing the petition that Captain Van submitted and will make a determination of how to move forward.

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Posted by on Apr 24 2013. Filed under Breaking News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

1 Comment for “Petition submitted to put Sugar Land’s red light camera issue to a vote”

  1. rmetz

    I have mixed feelings about the red light cameras. To some degree I don’t have a problem with them. But, it is a slippery slope with regard to governments intrusion on our private lives and potential for expanded use of cameras and abuse. I do question the safety improvement claims, at least the significance of the number. A blanket percentage improvement statement doesn’t really mean that much. If the accident rate was relatively low to begin with, then a relatively insignificant reduction in actual number could result in a seemingly large percentage. Statistics can often be easily manipulated to tell the story that benefits your agenda. On the otherhand, Captain Van’s blanket statement of not believeing the City’s stats is not supported by anything, other than his opinion. He needs to support his position also. I do agree that strictly enforced traffic rules tend to be more about revenue generation than public safety. We need traffic laws, but we also need common sense in the enforcement. Blowing through a red light or stop sign with no regard for the intersecting traffic is serious and should be handled as a serious violation. But, obviously cautious rolling stops, especially when no obvious safety concern is present, is a ridiculous enforcement. I do agree that many of the yellow light timings are too short. Could slightly longer yellow light time improve safety as well? But, more importantly we are supposed to be governed by the will of the people. Items such as this should be brought to vote, and if the people don’t want it, then we shouldn’t have it. But, the voting public needs honest and accurate information on the benefits, or lack thereof, for such a measure.

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