Red Light Camera Violations to Benefit Local Trauma Rooms

October 12 , 2009 - Houston police announced today that millions of dollars in red light camera violation proceeds paid to the State of Texas will now be returned to local hospital trauma centers. A total of $8,445,758 will be paid to Houston area hospitals, including the largest recipient, Ben Taub General Hospital.

Nineteen hospitals are recipients from proceeds of the City of Houston’s red light camera funds. Ben Taub General Hospital received more than $4.75 million; Memorial Hermann Hospital received $2.27 million; Lyndon B. Johnson General Hospital was the recipient of more than $536,000 and Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital received $177,000. A complete list of local trauma center reimbursements is attached to this news release.

The City of Houston and the State of Texas equally share the proceeds (after permissible operating and maintenance costs) from Red Light Camera fines. For fiscal years 2008 and 2009 the City remitted a total of $7,839,841 to the State. The amounts being distributed to the hospitals exceeds the amount remitted by the City because other municipalities in the Houston region also remit proceeds to the state from their local red light camera programs.

In 2007, the Texas state legislature passed Senate Bill 1119 which regulated Red Light Camera programs and the permissible uses of proceeds. The State was to fund trauma centers, and the proceeds retained by local municipalities are restricted use funds limited to traffic safety and enforcement activities.

Since the law went into effect, the funds remitted have remained in accounts at the state level. The most recent legislative session made provisions for these funds to be distributed. The money being disbursed now reflects the combined total collections paid to the state for both the 2008 and 2009 fiscal years.

Trauma centers receive money based on a formula developed at the state level. Fifteen percent of the total amount is distributed equally among all hospitals in the regional trauma service area. The remaining 85% of the money is proportionally distributed based on the amount of services provided by each hospital. The money is a reimbursement for services already provided to the community.

The Houston Police Department currently operates 69 red light cameras throughout the city of Houston. More than 230,000 notices of violation were issued in fiscal year 2008 and again in 2009. The penalty for a Red Light Camera violation is $75.

For additional information, please contact the HPD Public Affairs Division at 713-308-3200 .

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