|GRACE PERIOD FOR HOUSTON RED LIGHT CAMERA SCOFFLAWS ENDS JANUARY 30, 2010. VEHICLE REGISTRATION HOLDS BECOME EFFECTIVE THEREAFTER.|
Vehicle registration holds to affect approximately 77,800 Texas vehicle owners
HOUSTON (November 20, 2009) – Today the City of Houston Police Department announced that a 60-day public education and grace period begins for approximately 77,800 Texas vehicle owners with delinquent Notices of Violation. Next week, letters will be mailed to owners of registered vehicles which have been identified by the City of Houston’s Red Light Camera Enforcement Program as having violated a red light signal and the associated fines remain unpaid and past due. To enforce payment of delinquent fines the City of Houston passed an ordinance on November 19, 2008 which allows the City to request the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV) to place a hold on renewal of a vehicle’s registration until the fine is paid. If the delinquent fines are not paid by January 30, 2010 a hold will be placed immediately after that date. This will prevent renewal of the registration at the end of the current registration period and the vehicle cannot be legally driven. (Operators of unregistered vehicles can be cited.) Owners of vehicles with registration holds can have the hold released within two to three business days by paying the fine using convenient payment methods: on-line, phone, mail or in person. Once the fine is paid and the hold is released, the owner can register the vehicle with any of the methods allowed by the respective county.
The City of Houston and TxDMV entered a five year agreement on December 15, 2008 which allows the City to request TxDMV to place a hold on renewal of a vehicle’s registration until a past due Red Light Camera fine is paid. The State Legislature enabled this provision of the Texas Transportation Code (sec. 707.017. ENFORCEMENT) to ensure compliance with the Red Light Camera laws. The City has also reached a preliminary agreement with the Harris County Tax Office to help with enforcement of the registration holds, and the agreement is pending approval of the Harris County Commissioners.
“We urge vehicle owners to avoid the inconvenience and delays that a registration hold will cause. It’s a lot easier to take advantage of this grace period before the hold goes into effect and to simply pay the fine by using any of the convenient payment methods listed on the notice,” said Joseph Fenninger, Chief Financial Officer and Deputy Director of the Houston Police Department.
Owners of Texas registered vehicles that have previously been sent delinquency notices will be directly affected by registration holds. Delinquency occurs after the owner fails to pay the fine by the deadline specified in two or more notices mailed to the address of record. In addition to the registration hold, all delinquencies are turned over to a law firm for collection.
Vehicle owners have several convenient options to resolve a Notice of Violation, which is a civil penalty: (1) pay online at www.ViolationInfo.com, (2) pay by phone toll-free at (866) 790-4111, (3) pay by mail, or (4) pay in person at the Municipal Courts Building located at 1400 Lubbock or at a walk-in payment center located at 1301 Travis, Suite 145. Violators can view a video and still photos of their violation by going online at www.ViolationInfo.com.
“Red light running is completely preventable. This important next phase of enforcement for Houston’s Red Light Camera Program is aimed at sending a clear message to citizens about the value we place on public safety,” said Sgt. Michael Muench with the Houston Police Department. “There are consequences associated with ignoring the law, and simply refusing to pay the fine does not exempt a violator from accountability,” added Muench. “The new registration hold reminds each of us that red light running is serious and the vehicle owner will be held accountable. The goal of the program continues to be focused on traffic safety by changing driver behavior and discouraging dangerous driving and the running of red lights.”
At 2 p.m. TODAY (Friday, Nov. 20), an HPD representative will be available to answer questions on this issue in the media briefing room on the first floor of HPD Headquarters at 1200 Travis.