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How do red light cameras work?

When driving in Florida, people and cars aren’t the only things you have to worry about. There will be dangers and rules that need your attention as well. One rule that many people do not pay enough attention to is turning or driving through a red light. Not only is it illegal, but it is dangerous and expensive. When driving through a red light, to you it may be “it just turned red, I’ll be fine”, but another person could be saying the same thing and then both of you collide.

red light camera

What are red light camera violations?

You may have noticed by now that at most intersections there is a tiny camera attached to the traffic lights. The reasoning behind these cameras was to ensure that people came to a complete stop at red lights. If red-light runners thought they would get away with their actions they were now caught on camera and issued red-light violations.


If you were wondering what exactly could constitute a violation by these cameras, our accident attorneys have you covered. For example just because a red light camera flashes it doesn't necessarily mean it's a violation. Sometimes, a picture is taken when someone breaks hard before the light and the front of the car is just slightly past the line. Luckily, there is a police officer who reviews that footage and judges whether a red light camera ticket will be issued or not.


If a violation did in fact happen, the person whose name is registered to the car will receive the bill. According to the City of Fort Lauderdale’s Red Light Safety Program, they explained

“The system activates when motion is detected just prior to the stop bar AFTER the traffic signal has turned red. The cameras capture two images of an alleged violation, taken from the rear of the vehicle. The first image shows the vehicle at the white stop bar and the illuminated red light. The second image shows the violator in the middle of the intersection with the red light illuminated. The license plate image is a close-up of one of the images captured. Data, including the time, date, and duration of the yellow and red lights, is also recorded. Cameras also record a 12-second digital video of the violation, including six seconds prior to and six seconds after running the red light. See a graphic that illustrates how red-light safety cameras work”.

Depending on your area, you can go to your city’s website to see how they work near you.


How do I pay for a red light violation?

When you initially receive the red light violation in the mail, you have three options, you can:

  1. Pay the fine: If you choose to pay the fine you can pay online with a convenience fee of 5% of the total fine, by mail with a check or money order, credit card with a fee of 5% of the total fine, or in person with a $4 convenience fee.

  2. Request an administrative hearing: If you choose to request an administrative hearing, you must submit a form to the address provided by your city’s website.

  3. Submit an affidavit of non-responsibility: If you choose to request an administrative hearing, you must submit a form to the address provided by your city’s website.

Now, let’s say someone stole your car and went for a joyride, got some food, and ran some red lights, in this case, you should submit an Affidavit of Non-Responsibility to keep your record clean.


If you ignore the Notice of violation, then it will result in an issuance of a Uniform Citation and will be on your record. A Notice of Violation does not add points to your record unless you fail to respond to the first notice you received. The price will increase with the sending of the second notice. The first NOV is $158 and if a second one is sent, the price increases to $262.


How can the red light camera programs help individuals after a car accident?

Red light cameras can also help you if you were to be in an accident. We see so many cases where it was our client’s word against the other parties, and because the accident happened at a busy intersection, our client was able to use that footage to show that the driver did in fact obey traffic signals and therefore was not at fault for the car accident.


According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, they conducted a study to see how red-light cameras can make an impact, this was their statement,

“An IIHS study found that cameras reduced the fatal red light running crash rate of large cities by 21 percent and the rate of all types of fatal crashes at signalized intersections by 14 percent”.

So yes, people fear red light cameras because of its ability to give them a ticket, but they fail to see how the red light camera system actually aids them.


Red light camera enforcement was meant to help prevent red light running and accidents, not to be seen as a burden. In fact, intersections that do have red light cameras are said to decrease red light running by as much as 67 percent.


Although it was also shown the panic of getting caught by a red light camera has led to more rear-ended accidents as drivers will slam on their brakes just to not get caught.


Can you fight red light violations?

Red light cameras as we have stated previously are seen as a nuisance and even an invasion of privacy. That is why a lot of violations issued by a red light camera system can be fought or even dismissed.


What is the difference between a red light camera system and a police officer?

The biggest difference between a red light camera and a police officer is the fact that the camera is not a conscious being. If an officer were to be parked in a corner to conceal himself, people would go do what they want because they do not see law enforcement. When it comes to a red light camera, everyone knows where it is because a flash would go off and it is visible to the street.


Due to the fact, people can see the camera they tend not to do illegal actions, such as running a red light.


So do red light cameras actually stop accidents from happening?

Well, about 928 people were killed in crashes that involved red light running and nearly half of those people were pedestrians or cyclists. About 116,000 people were injured due to red light running crashes. Those were the numbers previous to the red light enforcement program, meaning this system has clearly decreased the number of accidents.


Another benefit these cameras have is if you were hit by someone at an intersection, and they drove away you now have a way to catch the hit-and-run driver because their license plate was definitely captured.


When it comes to your personal injury claim, the camera would serve as a key piece of evidence. In 2015, around 60 people died each month from crashes involving a run-red light. This amounts to more than 800 deaths per year or around two fatal accidents from running a red light per day across America.


What’s more, over 200,000 people are injured each year in accidents involving red-light running. If you caused the accident after running a red light, you and your insurance will be held liable for the damage caused. Anyone harmed by your actions in running a red light may seek to recover under your automobile liability policy.


In some cases, if you are at fault for more than one severe accident, your insurance company may drop you. Not to mention, your premiums could increase drastically. The consequences of running a red light can also result in a traffic citation and or criminal prosecution.


To avoid these red-light accidents try to do the following:

  1. Break the habit of being a red-light runner: Instead of being upset that the light is red, think of it as a blessing because you never know what might happen if you did not stop.

  2. Travel at a reasonable speed: The speed limit is not a suggestion it is a traffic enforcement in regards to safe traveling. The same goes for a yellow light, you should never speed up as yellow indicates slow down.

  3. Pause before you move through an intersection after the light turns green: Even though you see a green light, it does not always mean “go”, take a pause and count to three before driving through.

  4. Leave earlier: If you are always running late, wake up a few minutes earlier or plan for the traffic you know will happen especially in Florida.

  5. Put the phone down, it can wait: I promise you it is not that important to where you need to take your eyes off the road. You may not be paying attention, but the red-light cameras definitely are.

Look up, take care, and drive safely. Do what you can to avoid situations like these, so you can avoid the hassle of dealing with insurance, car loans, rentals, doctor visits, medical bills, and a long tedious process of handling an avoidable accident.


How can a personal injury lawyer help me with my case?

If you or a loved one were injured in an accident, call Demesmin and Dover Law Firm at (866) 954-MORE (6673). Make sure to stay safe, be aware, slow down, and be mindful of the red lights!

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