How red light cameras may affect New York motorists

Many people here in New York are likely aware of the dangers associated with certain driving behaviors. Speeding, running a red light and other types of violations are a concern, although many people may simply make a mistake behind the wheel. These mistakes can still result in a potentially-costly ticket for those who are cited for traffic violations. Many locales now make use of cameras at stop lights in an effort to both discourage people from breaking the law and to catch those who do, and it is important for those who are cited for running a red light to be aware of them.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the act of running a red light happens fairly often. Nearly 700 people were killed in accidents that were related to running a stop light, and around 133,000 people were injured in 2012. The IIHS recommends that traffic signals are better-timed to avoid accidents, but they also advocate the use of red light cameras.

Since it is not possible for police to be present at every intersection in New York, red light cameras are meant to catch those who violate the law and to discourage others from doing so. The IIHS argues that municipalities that use the cameras have reduced fatal red light crashes by almost a quarter. However, these cameras cannot take into account mitigating circumstances, such as if a motorist was attempting to avoid an accident or prevent harm in some other way.

Although running a red light or another type of traffic violation may not seem serious, it can be problematic for those who receive these tickets. If a person is unaware of the cameras, he or she could have several tickets before realizing what happened. Receiving a ticket from a police officer for running a stop light is treated in a different manner than a ticket based upon a red light camera, although an accused motorist will want to ensure the protection of his or her rights in either of these situations. Careful consideration of the incident and its possible outcome will facilitate the best resolution available.

Source:, "Red Light Running", Oct. 17, 2014

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