Many traffic signals use sensors and cameras to detect when a vehicle is approaching and when to change from red to green. Sometimes, these types of technologies are also used to detect and record when drivers run through a red light. Many cities and states are using cameras to issue red light tickets. However, some jurisdictions still prohibit traffic camera tickets. Here are some of the basics about when and how cameras can be used to issue tickets for red light violations.
Stop light cameras are generally affixed to the traffic light or traffic light pole. Typically, red light cameras are fairly large and visible.
Sensors in the pavement, which can pinpoint a vehicle's location, work in conjunction with the cameras. While the traffic light is red, the camera will activate if a vehicle crosses the stop line or into the crosswalk. The camera will take pictures (or video) of the offending vehicle and transmit it to the local law enforcement (or some other government agency) for processing.
Red light camera tickets aren't issued automatically. An officer will generally review the images or footage and determine whether to issue a citation. If the officer finds the driver committed a violation, he or she will use the vehicle's license plate to identify the registered owner. The citation will be mailed to the registered owner's listed address.
Red light cameras are most often seen in high-traffic areas where violations or collisions are common. In many jurisdictions, signs are posted at all intersections equipped with red light cameras. These signs are intended to notify drivers that red light cameras are in use.
The laws of some states allow traffic cameras only in work zones or near schools. Other states have passed laws outright prohibiting the use of traffic camera citations.
Your options for handling a traffic camera violation depend on the circumstances, including the laws of your state and the type of notice you receive in the mail.
Types of notices. A red light violation notice might come in the form of a warning, request for information, or citation. Here are the basics about these three types of notices:
Fighting a red light Camera Ticket. The defenses available for disputing a red light camera ticket depend on the laws of your state and the specifics of your situation. If you choose to dispute the citation, your options might include:
Traffic school options. Many jurisdictions have a traffic school option for drivers who receive a citation. By completing traffic school, the driver might be able to avoid some or all of the consequences of a red light ticket.
Fines for camera tickets are often similar to standard traffic tickets. But in many jurisdictions, the fines for camera citations are less than those for officer-issued tickets. Also, the laws of many states don't allow the DMV to assign demerit points for violations that are issued by means of red light cameras.