Here’s the deal: about 97% of Americans agree that running a red light on purpose is a serious offense, and the majority of the time, it’s hard for drivers to argue that they aren’t responsible. But red light violations that are caught by cameras and sent to drivers in the mail are a completely different story — and here’s what you need to know about them:
- Traffic cameras are currently one of the most widely disputed issues in traffic legislation today, and since states are allowed to determine traffic legislation for their own individual state, this has resulted in many different laws regarding traffic cameras.
- Some states allow cameras to catch drivers who run red lights, some states allow the cameras to catch speeding drivers as well, and other states simply prohibit speeding and red light camera tickets altogether. It’s always a good idea to be familiar with the laws of your own state, and any other states through which you’re driving.
- When you get a traffic light violation because you were caught on a traffic camera, just like receiving a regular ticket for running a red light, it’s never a good idea to argue that a yellow light was too short or that you thought you could make it through.Yellow lights are carefully analyzed and tested so that if you’re going the speed limit, you’ll be able to stop in time before the light turns red. On a similar note, it can be hard to argue that the camera equipment malfunctioned (unless you have some really compelling evidence).
- But keeping that point in mind, there have been more than a few city-wide scandals across the country that involve companies rigging traffic lights so that the yellow light is too short and the city can “legally” hand out traffic light violations (and collect the fines from them, too). It’s a good idea to do some research about this to see if your city is currently under investigation for possible traffic light rigging schemes, or if the camera that caught you has been manufactured by a company involved in other rigging scandals.