Houston police have notified 79,000 motorists that they cannot renew their vehicle registrations until they pay red light camera fines and penalties, even though Harris County officials repeatedly have said they will not prevent people from registering their vehicles because of the outstanding citations.
Police Chief Charles McClelland denied critics’ charges the Houston Police Department’s collection campaign relies on scare tactics, but he acknowledged HPD has no legal agreement to block registration of Harris County residents who owe red-light camera fines. He said that some of the red light violations were committed by residents in adjacent counties that are enforcing the registration holds.
Harris County officials have rejected requests to help HPD collect red light camera fines, expressing concern the county could lose a large share of the state registration fees it collects. Cities can enter into an agreement with the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles to block registration by motorists who owe civil fines, but county officials must approve an agreement not to renew registrations at county tax offices.
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