Red light cameras (or traffic light cameras) are an effective way of making roads safer. Since the early 2000s, traffic light cameras have been increasingly used in the United Kingdom, especially at busy junctions to enforce red light rules. How do they work and are they really necessary? Read on to find out.
How do traffic light cameras work?
Traffic light or red light cameras have a sensor that detects vehicles that pass through lights after they’ve turned red. Some versions also use ground loops to capture when drivers jump a light.
The majority of UK red light cameras are manufactured by Gatso, with the name becoming so household that it is synonymous with the name “speed cameras”.
Is there a camera at all traffic lights?
The answer is no, not all traffic lights have red light cameras. Some navigation apps such as Waze are usually helpful in understanding where traffic light cameras are located but don’t let this tempt you to ever run a red light. Traffic lights exist and are meant to be obeyed for a reason!
What do traffic light cameras look like?
Usually, but not always, traffic light cameras are painted in yellow and positioned slightly forward or behind the light but rarely on the traffic light itself. This is positioned this way so the camera gets a shot of the vehicle that crosses the line along with a clear view of the red traffic light. Here is an example of a traffic light camera in Northampton and another one in London.
Why are there traffic light cameras?
A recent survey by Direct Line found that 14% of drivers jump a red light at least twice a month! In order to keep these rules in check and ensure the safety of drivers on the road, the government has installed traffic light cameras. These traffic light cameras are designed to capture vehicle details when the driver runs the red light.
The Highway Code requires all drivers to stop behind the white line when the red light is illuminated and a motorist may only drive when given the green light and only if it is safe to proceed. Failure to obey these rules will result in a TS10 driving conviction and could mean three penalty points on your licence and a fine.
What happens if I run a red light camera?
It is difficult to know if you’ve been caught by the red light camera straight away. Unless you see the bright camera flash or are pulled over by the police, the first time you’ll know if you’ve run a red light will be when you receive your Notice of Intended Prosecution in the mail usually within 14 days.
In the following 28 days, you have to provide the details of the driver of the vehicle at the time of the alleged offence. You will then receive a fixed penalty notice which is usually a fine of £100 as well as 3 points off your licence. You can choose to accept the penalty or request an appeal and defend the allegation.
Alternatively, if you don’t respond on time, or fail to provide the correct information about the offender, you could face prosecution, 6 penalty points, and a fine of up to £1,000.
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