Round Rock thinking about losing the red light cameras

Since 2011 the City of Round Rock has issued more than 48,000 red light camera citations.

Alexander Donaldson says he got one just a few weeks ago.

"Yeah it wasn't very fun.  All you do is you see the flashes behind you and you're like 'uh oh,'" Donaldson said.

Since the cameras were installed, the city has reviewed their effectiveness several times.  This time they found there are about 14,000 outstanding citations.

"We just don't have a lot of tools available to us on how to collect those and we really see a lot of repeat offenders," said Round Rock Transportation Director Gary Hudder.

Hudder says the city's goal was to focus on safety instead of a hefty fine.  So they set the fine at a do-able $75.  And it's civil not criminal...meaning sometimes people just won't pay.

"We've got folks that are doing this repetitively and they know that there's really not an opportunity for us to do anything about it so that's really the kind of frustration that we feel," Hudder said.

The Round Rock folks we spoke with aren't keen on the cameras.

"I don't think people purposely run through a red light unless they're either trying to get to work or there's nobody around," said Morgan Szoboszla.

"I don't think red light cameras are very fair.  I was always taught that you pretty much had to be pulled over by a police officer and they had to be present and they had to be visible.  And red light's just kind of cheap almost.  They can just nail you from whenever, wherever," Donaldson said.

But have the cameras made the city safer?  Hudder says they've haven't seen it.

"For the collection challenges that we're having, as it relates to any kind of significant improvement in safety, we're just not seeing that there's a correlation there," he said.

Round Rock says city council doesn't have anything on their agenda to discuss the cameras just yet but Hudder says they've got some options: Renew the camera program at the end of 2016 when the contract is up... or get rid of them.  Either at the end of the contract year or even sooner than that.