City of Houston Seeks Permission to Appeal Red Light Camera Decision
July 6, 2011


The city of Houston has decided to appeal the red light camera decision and turn on red light cameras TODAY while the legal issues continue.

Mayor Annise Parker released the statement below. It is followed by a statement from American Traffic Solutions, the camera company.

City of Houston Seeks Permission to Appeal Red Light Camera Decision

Mayor Annise Parker today announced that the City will attempt to appeal a recent court ruling invalidating last fall’s vote on red-light cameras. In the meantime, the red-light cameras will be turned back on today. Ticket issuance will resume after a short period of equipment testing.“This is a difficult decision,” said Mayor Parker. “I have a responsibility to represent the interests of the voters, but I also have a responsibility to abide by the judge’s ruling. The City just went through a very painful budget process in which nearly 750 employees were laid off and park, library and health services were cut back. We simply don’t have the millions they claim we would owe for violating the court decision and our contractual obligation to American Traffic Solutions (ATS). Therefore, I have decided the fiscally-prudent path to take is to turn the cameras back on while also seeking a second chance for the voters in the courts.”Mayor Parker emphasized the safety measures provided by the red-light camera program. ATS and the City are initiating a study to make sure the cameras are placed at the city’s most dangerous intersections. As a result of this review, some cameras may be moved from their current locations to intersections with higher accident rates upon completion of this review.In June, U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes ruled last November’s red-light camera referendum violated the City Charter and should not have been placed on the ballot. The ruling was based on a charter provision that mandates any challenge of a city ordinance by referendum must occur within 30 days of passage of the ordinance. City Council adopted an ordinance initiating the use of red-light cameras in 2004. Opponents did not mount their ballot challenge until 2010.

The district court decision is an interlocutory ruling. As such, the City must first ask Judge Hughes for permission to appeal to the U.S.5th Circuit Court of Appeals. Permission is also required from the appellate court.

“It is not the prerogative of City Council to decide which laws it wants to follow,” Parker said. “We had no choice in putting the referendum on the ballot last fall. However, we do have the ability to settle this question for future City Councils and the public.”


In accordance with Mayor Parker’s announcement, ATS is working to immediately reactivate and fully functionalize Houston’s red light safety cameras. We look forward to resuming work with the city on this important public safety initiative. As we have seen over the course of the last several years, Houston’s red light safety program has been successful in changing driver behavior, reducing collisions and ultimately saving lives. – James Tuton ATS President & CEO

Crashes Up Since Red Light Cameras Voted Down?
June 8, 2011


Last November, Houstonians voted to remove red light cameras from dangerous intersections around the city.  The cameras remain up while litigation is pending, but a new study released tonight by the camera company, American Traffic Solutions,  shows that crashes are up at those intersections.

Mayor Annise Parker and other city leaders supported red light cameras as method to reduce crashes and discourage red light running.

However, critics complained the cameras were money makers for Houston and did nothing to reduce crashes.

I’ve posted information from the company. Obviously, that is just one side of the story.


Houston Police Department Data Shows Intersection Crashes Up 137 Percent

Since Cameras Turned Off


SCOTTSDALE, AZ (June 8, 2011) – New data, just released by the Houston Police Department, shows crashes at intersections previously monitored by red-light safety cameras have increased by nearly 137 percent since the cameras were shut off last November.  HPD’s analysis found that there were 366 more crashes at these intersections from November 2010-April 2011 (634) than there were from November 2009-April 2010 (268).

 red lght cameras one

Red lght cameras

“Every traffic collision exacts its own toll on families, vehicle owners and the community-at-large,” said James Tuton, President and CEO of American Traffic Solutions. “Medical care, vehicle removal and repair, and the attention from police and other emergency response personnel are just a few of the measurable costs associated with traffic crashes. Red-light safety cameras help reduce vehicle collisions by changing driver behavior.”

This data expands on a recent Houston Chronicle study that compared crash rates for the six months prior to, and after, the cameras were turned off.  That comparison concluded that crash rates had actually slightly decreased.

“Unfortunately, this type of data is what we expected to see based on the increase in potential red-light running violations that had been observed since the cameras stopped issuing citations,” added Tuton.

Additionally, HPD’s analysis also showed that “Major” collisions more than quadrupled from 44 from November 2009-April 2010 to 200 from November 2010-April 2011, the period since the cameras have been disabled. “Major” collisions are defined by HPD as those that include injury and significant damage. 

Based on a recent economic model created by John Dunham and Associates, we estimate that each of the 72 cameras in the Houston Red Light Safety Camera Program saved the city more than $50,000 a year, $3.5 million in total, simply by reducing the number of red-light running related crashes.  This savings was after any fees paid to ATS and did not include any additional revenue generated by red-light running violations.

A February 2011 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study found that nearly two-thirds of the deaths and injuries from red-light running related crashes were people other than the red light runner including: bicyclists, pedestrians and occupants of other vehicles. The study also found that, in 2009, 676 people were killed and more than 113,000 were injured in red-light related collisions.


About American Traffic Solutions:

ATS is proud to be the market leader in Road Safety Camera installations in North America. ATS has more than 2,600 installed Intersection and Speed Safety Cameras serving more than 30 million people. We have contracts in 240 communities in 22 states and Washington, D.C., including: Fort Worth, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Memphis, Miami, Nassau County (NY), New York City, Orlando, Philadelphia, Seattle and St. Louis. ATS also offers PlatePass, an automated electronic toll payment service that enables rental vehicle customers to use high-speed, cashless electronic toll lanes. ATS is a privately-owned, U.S. corporation. For more information, please visit: or

Federal Judge Denies Intervention in Red Light Camera Lawsuit
December 12, 2010


Earlier today, Sunday, December 12, United States District Judge Lynn Hughes ruled against Francis and Randall Kubosh in their motion to intervene in the lawsuit between the City of  Houston and American Traffic Solutions, the red light camera company.

Judge Hughes’  signed order states that the Kuboshes lack standing to defend the constitutionality of the election and they may not intervene.

The Kuboshes are the people who formed “Citizens against Red Light Cameras.”

They organized a successful petition drive that forced the city  to put  proposition3  on November’s ballot.

Voters overwhelmingly rejected the use of red light cameras, but getting them removed apparently isn’t going to be as easy as some expected.

In 2006, the city entered a contract with American Traffic solutions for   70 cameras to be installed at different intersections.

Vehicles caught running red lights were recorded and the registered owners were sent a citation in the mail.   The penaly carried a $75 civil fine.

After the election, the city went to federal court and asked for permission to immediately end its contract with ATS.

However, ATS countersued saying that its contract with the city is valid through 2014 and the company would suffer a huge financial loss if  the court allows the contract to be cancelled.

The city of Houston is also losing about $10 Million because it can no longer collect revenue from the red light cameras.

Judge Hughes must still rule on the merits of the lawsuit between ATS and the City of  Houston.

Lawsuit Filed Today Against Red Light Camera Vote
September 3, 2010

A federal lawsuit was officially  filed late Friday afternoon in an effort to prevent Houston residents from voting on whether to ban red light cameras. (click2houston will  have it posted later)

Afternoon update with reaction from Mayor Annise Parker:

“City Council’s vote to put this issue on the November ballot was a mandatory ministerial duty forced by a petition submitted by opponents of red light cameras.  Supporters of red light cameras also have the right to pursue legal options to keep the issue off the ballot.  Personally, I do not believe anyone has a constitutional right to run a red light and endanger someone else’s public safety.  I am strongly in favor of retaining red light cameras as part of the city’s law enforcement tool box.  I also believe the police chief should have the discretion to use cameras as a force multiplier to allow officers to focus more on patrol duties.”


Multiple sources have confirmed to 2 On The Beat that the lawsuit will be filed on behalf of  a Houston resident and Keep Houston Safe, a Political Action Committee,  but not American Traffic Solutions, the Arizona based company that sold the red light cameras to the city of  Houston. ( I was told earlier that ATS  was party to the suit, but that is incorrect.)

The suit seeks  to block  the proposed charter amendment from being placed on November’s ballot on the grounds that it violates the city charter and would dilute minority voting strength, in violation of the Civil Rights Act of  1965.

You may recall that Citizens Against Red Light Cameras, led by Houston attorney Michael Kubosh,  submitted thousands of  signatures to the City Secretary to get this controversial issue on the ballot.

After the signatures were verified, Mayor Annise Parker and city council voted to let Houstonians decide the fate of  the red light cameras.

Several camera supporters argued that the city charter prohibits this type of referendum must be done within 30 days of the law taking effect.  The red light camera ordinance has been in place since 2004.

Currently,  the city of   Houston has 70 red light cameras located at intersections that have been identified as dangerous because of the high number of motorist ts who run red lights.

Each infraction caught on tape results in a $75 ticket being sent to the vehicle’s owner.

Check my blog later today and tune into KPRC Local 2.

We’ll have more on the lawsuit and what it could mean for you.

Red Light Camera Supporters Speakup
August 10, 2010

Yesterday I posted a news item from a group that is trying to ban red light cameras in the city of  Houston.  The group has collected enough signatures to get the issue on the November ballot and let Houston residents decide if the city should have red light cameras.

Today, I received a statement from a group of  supporters working to keep the cameras operating at several dangerous intersections around town.


August 10, 2010

To:            Houston Media
From:       Keep Houston Safe PAC
Subj:        Why the Citizens Against Red Light Camera (CARLC) Petition is “Dead on Arrival”

Now that the Citizens Against Red Light Cameras have submitted their signatures to the City Secretary, the question is:  what happens next?

The answer is simple.  This matter already is, and should be so declared, dead on arrival.  A little history will help put this in perspective.

  • On December 21, 2004, 68 months ago, the Houston City Council passed an ordinance allowing the city to implement an intersection safety camera program.  
  • On May 31, 2006, the City chose a vendor, American Traffic Solutions, to provide the intersection monitoring services following a lengthy RFP process.  
  • On September 1, 2006, the first cameras were installed and became operational.
  • In 2007, the Kubosh brothers sued the City of Houston unsuccessfully over the program’s administrative-hearing process for motorists who fight their tickets.  NOTE:  The Kuboshes first foray into this battle was directly related to Mr. Kubosh’s livelihood as a traffic court attorney.  The judge in that case upheld the constitutionality of the camera program, and Michael Kubosh abandoned his appeal of this decision in 2008.
  • Flash forward to 2010.  As CARLC has said time and again this year, their goal is to “ban” the camera program.  The problem here is that Houston’s city charter clearly states that in order to repeal a vote of council, the signatures need to be submitted within 30 days of the passage of the original ordinance.  

The City Charter amendment that CARLC is proposing is nothing more than a “camouflaged referendum”.  Normally, a City Charter amendment is a change of governing policies/procedures that hasn’t already been in place such as changing term limits, drainage fund improvements, etc.  Here, CARLC is proposing to use the City Charter as a vehicle to undo a program that was already put into place via ordinance — something which (to our knowledge) has never occurred.

So, because Houston’s intersection safety camera ordinance was passed on December 21, 2004, some 68 months ago, CARLC is roughly 2,027 days late in filing their signatures.  This issue, in our view, is moot regardless of whether the signatures that CARLC brought to City Hall yesterday can be counted and verified before the August 24th deadline mandated in the Texas Election Code.

In the final analysis, this is really little more than a four-year old business development/PR stunt by a traffic ticket lawyer whose business is negatively affected by the intersection safety cameras.  Why else would Mr. Kubosh personally donate $68,000 of the $68,500 his PAC raised in the first half of 2010?  The longer this fight goes, the more he personally benefits through media exposure and new clients.

Would You Vote For or Against Red Light Cameras In Houston?
August 8, 2010

 It  looks like Houston residents  will have a chance to vote on two controversial issues during the November election.

RENEW Houston seeks to pass a city charter amendment to impose a fee to repair flooding and drainage issues, and now a group wants voters to decide if the city should continue operating red light cameras.

The group  Citizens Against Red Light Cameras says it has collected enough signatures to require the city to place the measure on the ballot.

Should be a really interesting  election year.  The hot button topic of  red light cameras could help drive up voter turnout in a year that also boasts a gubernatorial election and several contested judicial races.

For Immediate Release

The grass roots group of citizens, known as Citizens Against Red Light Cameras will present petitions signed by Houston’s citizens who oppose the use of photogenic cameras in the City of Houston. The group led by Attorney Paul Kubosh will present over 30 thousand verified signatures to the city’s secretary. The citizens will gather on the steps of City Hall, Monday August 9, 2010 at 2pm. In attendance will be members of the clergy, housewives, community activists, students as well as a diverse group of Houstonians.

Citizens Against Red Light Cameras want the controversial cameras brought before the public on the November 2, 2010 election. Twenty-two thousand verified signatures are required by the City of Houston to place the measure on the ballot. The group collected the required signatures by mailing out petitions and by canvassing door to door in targeted precincts. Attorney Paul Kubosh said, “We were ecstatic at the response of the community. Many expressed how grateful they were for us taking the initiative to end the use of red light cameras in Houston.”