Regulating Red Light Cameras
Although the NMA opposes the use of ticket cameras, we realize that many governments have adopted this technology.
Motorists’ rights must be protected. With this in mind, cameras should only be allowed if the standards and safeguards below are followed:
- The minimum yellow-light time shall be three seconds for intersection signals on streets with actual 85th percentile approach speeds of 25 mph, or less. (The 85th percentile speed is the speed at or below which 85 percent of free-flowing traffic is traveling.)
- The yellow-light interval shall be increased half a second for each 5-mph increase in 85th percentile approach speeds above 25 mph.
- All signalized intersections under camera surveillance with 85th percentile approach speeds of 45 mph or higher must be preceded by caution lights actively warning motorists that the light will change before they reach the intersection.
- All signals at camera-equipped intersections shall meet all warrants and recommended (“should”) standards described in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD).
- Regardless of the plea a person enters, any camera citation that is not in compliance with the engineering requirements specified above should be dismissed, and any related fine should be refunded.
- All lanes that are camera-enforced at signalized intersections shall be posted with Signal Ahead and Photo Enforced signage in a manner that conforms with the MUTCD specifications for the design and placement of such signage.
- All camera-equipped intersections should be under the direct control of an on-site operator. The operator will be responsible for maintaining the cameras’ accuracy.
- Citations must be submitted to the vehicle operator, not the vehicle owner. The photo(s) must clearly depict the driver, the vehicle registration number, the state of registration, and the time and date of the violation, and they must show the vehicle entering the intersection on a red light.
- Only the driver may be punished for the alleged violation. The registered owner of the photographed vehicle has no legal obligation to identify the driver of his or her vehicle.
- Camera tickets should be handled by the same system and in the same manner as red-light tickets issued by police officers.
- All citations issued by red-light cameras must be postmarked within 48 hours of the alleged violation. They must also be sent by certified mail or personal service.
- Payments to camera contractors, if any, shall be based on the reductions in violations and reductions in accidents, not the number of citations issued.