Red Light Cameras: Automatic Safety Enforcers

Red Light Cameras: Be Aware of the Automatic Safety Enforcers

Traffic going through a green light

Running red lights is a serious safety concern. In 2015, an estimated 127,000 people were injured in accidents involving drivers running red lights, and 697 were killed, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's Highway Loss Data Institute.

Introducing red light cameras

Because law enforcement can't catch everyone who runs a red light, some communities have turned to technology and mounted cameras on traffic lights, and research shows they're effective as deterrents, especially in lowering the number of the most dangerous light violations — the ones that occur 1-1/2 seconds or longer after the light turns red. As of November 2015, 439 communities around the U.S. have implemented red light camera programs. See if you live in one of them.

When a vehicle doesn't stop for a red light, the camera takes a photo or video of the violation, recording the date, time, vehicle information, and speed. An officer typically reviews the footage to verify a ticket, and the registered driver of the offending car receives it via mail.

Be warned that if someone claiming to be a police officer calls a driver to demand a fine, it's likely a scam. Should this happen, do not give out any personal information. Hang up immediately and call the police.

Red light safety

Camera or no camera, you should practice caution on the road and approach red lights responsibly.

  • Come to a complete stop before the crosswalk or solid line.
  • Obey the speed limit and slow down early.
  • Never try to beat yellow lights. If you can't stop safely, maintain your speed through the intersection.
  • When turning right on red, come to a complete stop before inching forward to look for gaps in traffic. Yield to pedestrians and bicyclists.
  • Even after a light turns green, check in all directions before proceeding into traffic.


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The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm. While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. The information is not intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. Nor is it intended to effect coverage under our policy. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.