Red Light Cameras

Drivers running red lights is a dangerous problem that has left many people seriously injured or dead. Red-light running is the leading cause of urban crashes according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and in 2005, 165,000 injuries and over 800 fatalities in the U.S. were attributed to red-light running with over 1.8 million accidents at intersections.

How red light cameras work:

Red light cameras detect motor vehicles that pass a traffic signal after the light has turned red. The unit has a sensor that is connected to computers, which monitor the roadways. They use high-speed cameras to photograph the vehicles that go past during the red light.

There are varieties of red light camera systems, some may take multiple pictures of the vehicle leading up to the red light or monitor the intersection by video recording. The cameras also record the time, date, and the time elapsed since the beginning of the red light signal to when the driver passed the red light.

Law enforcement officials review the information captured and recorded by the system and the violation notice is mailed to the owner of the vehicle.

How do you know if an intersection has a red light camera?

 The Texas Transportation Code requires the city to place signs along the roadway leading to each intersection where red light cameras are present and working. There are two types of signals that indicate an in use red light system:

·      The most common type of signal is the Photo Enforced symbol sign. This sign is rectangular shaped and was specifically created to inform drivers of an approaching photo enforced intersection.

·      The other is the Signal Ahead Symbol warning sign with a “Photo Enforced” plaque mounted below it. This is typically used when there is only a small amount of sight distance ahead of the intersection.

The threats that running a red light poses are real and having red light cameras helps the safety at intersections and the community. Nationally, a 2013 study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety of large cities found that cameras reduced the fatal red-light-running crash rate by 24 percent and the rate of all types of fatal crashes at signalized intersections by 17 percent. Holding drivers accountable for running a red light is important and drivers are more hesitant to do so when they know the red light cameras are watching.