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Sugar Land loves its red-light cameras: Controversial, Houston banned system thriving in 'burbs

Welcome to Sugar Land, red light camera
Illustration by Jan-Pieter Zuiderveen
red light camera, traffic lights, stop lights
Claiming recent decreases in traffic accidents, Sugar Land officials will install a new set of red camera lights at 90A and Dairy Ashford.
Sugar Land, red light camera, how it works, March 2013
Here's how the system works. Safe Light Sugar Land
Sugar Land, red light camera, safe light camera, map, March 2013
Sugar Land currently has cameras installed at three different intersections. Safe Light Sugar Land
Welcome to Sugar Land, red light camera
red light camera, traffic lights, stop lights
Sugar Land, red light camera, how it works, March 2013
Sugar Land, red light camera, safe light camera, map, March 2013

While Houston's red light cameras were run out of town in 2011, drivers in nearby Sugar Land can expect to see more of the controversial ticket-issuing technology in April.

The upcoming cameras at Highway 90A and Dairy Ashford mark the city's fourth set along with systems currently installed on Highway 6 at both U.S. 59 and Lexington as well as at West Airport and the Eldridge Parkway.

Since cameras were installed in 2009, Sugar Land officials claim that traffic accidents decreased by more than 58 percent at camera-equipped intersections .

For the first 30 days, offenders at the newly-equipped intersection will get away with a warning. Thereafter, it's a $75 dollar fine.

The well-heeled suburb — which recently rejected a $5 million offer to rename itself — initiated its traffic camera program in 2009 under the moniker "Safe Light Sugar Land." Officials claim that the system reduced traffic accidents by more than 58 percent at camera locations.

The new installations come on the heels of recent success stories along 59 in Sugar Land, where city representatives say cameras have decreased accidents enough that law enforcement felt they could remove the systems at three intersections.

“The purpose of traffic enforcement is to change driving behaviors and encourage motorists to comply with traffic laws," assistant city manager Steve Griffith said in a statement. "If everyone complied with these laws at all times, there would be no accidents.”

Griffith also stressed the importance of how the cameras allow Sugar Land Police Department to concentrate on other matters, such as the city's growing problems with theft and burglaries.

Meanwhile, the City of Houston continues to collect its outstanding red light camera fines, which totaled nearly $25 million when the system was official shut down in August 2011.

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