Captain Van is a man on a mission. He wants the red light cameras in Sugar Land to go away.
On Friday, H.F. Van Der Grinten delivered over 3,300 signatures to the Sugar Land City Hall on a petition calling for a public vote on the controversial cameras. Van Der Grinten was the founder of the group the Houston Coalition Against Red Light Cameras.
Sugar Land city spokesman Doug Adolph says the cameras are doing their intended job, “We’ve used red light cameras for a number of years, they are a tool that helps keep our intersections safe, and we actually have data that supports that. We took a look at the existing locations of our red light cameras recently and found that since they were implemented we’ve seen a 58% reduction in accidents in those locations.”
Adolph says the city of Sugar Land will evaluate the submitted petition and take a look at what’s submitted, and then make a determination on how to move forward from there.
Van Der Grinten has a bone to grind with Adolph’s statistics. “There are 19 independent studies that prove that red light cameras tend to increase accidents because people jump on their brakes when they shouldn’t and they get rear-ended.” Van Der Grinten says they do not save lives or reduce accidents.
New cameras were installed just this month at the westbound approach of U.S. Highway 90A at Dairy Ashford and the northbound approach of Dairy Ashford.
“Our ‘Safe Light Sugar Land’ program has reduced accidents and saved the lives of motorists in our city, and allows police officers to focus on other areas that are important, such as special teams that focus on burglaries and other areas of interest in our city,” says Doug Adolph.
“My concern is that this is abusive government,” counters Captain Van. “This is just a totally unfair system and it could be used fairly except that it’s all revenue inspired and it does nothing to improve safety whatsoever.”
Sugar Land cancelled their May 11 election because there were no contested city council seats up for a vote, so it’s not known when, or if, voters in the city will decide the fate of their red light cameras.