Texas House Bill 1631 was approved by a vote of 109 to 34 on Wednesday and will phase out the use of red light cameras in the state of Texas. That's good news for all of us. Even better news for us in the Wichita Falls area is that we didn't have any in use around here in the first place.

We got a message from Adele Lewis, the Public Information Officer for TxDOT - Wichita Falls, shedding a little more light on the subject.

We do NOT have any red light cameras in the Wichita Falls District of TxDOT (Archer, Baylor, Clay, Cooke, Montague, Throckmorton, Wichita, Wilbarger, and Young counties). NONE of our cities passed ordinances to do so. BUT we do have intersection signal actuator cameras and freeway cameras.

The cameras that we have here look like these, and are used for traffic control and monitoring, but do not record any images.

These cameras just "watch" traffic at intersections and change the lights as needed when they detect movement. This type of camera replaced the old underground inductive loop detection system that had been in place for years and is a marked improvement in both efficiency and maintenance. These are also the cameras that provide the live video feeds for TxDOT.gov and are sometimes used in newscasts and there are 15 of these in use in Wichita Falls.

An actual red light camera, the kind that might result in a ticket if you crossed the intersection too late, would look like this.

A red light camera like this is required to be signed as such.

While we're glad Texas is phasing them out, we're even happier that they were never in use here in the first place.