Speed and Red Light Cameras

Red Light Camera

Automated enforcement uses cameras to capture images of vehicles committing traffic violations – most commonly, speeding and red light running. Citations are mailed to the vehicle owner. Many state laws specify when, where and how automated enforcement can be carried out.

In 2017, 890 people were killed in crashes that involved red light running. Over half of those killed were pedestrians, bicyclists and people in other vehicles who were hit by the red light runners. That same year, an estimated 132,000 people were injured in red light running crashes.

In 2018, 9,148 people died in speeding-related crashes (25% of all fatalities).1

GHSA Policy

Click here to view GHSA's Policy and Priorities on Automated Enforcement

Automated enforcement is intended to augment – not replace – traditional traffic enforcement activities, and addresses the public perception of the risk of "getting caught."

Critics of speed and red light cameras argue that they exist to make money for law enforcement agencies. However, the objective is to deter violators, not to catch them. Signs and publicity campaigns typically warn drivers that photo enforcement is in use. Revenue is generated from fines paid, but this is a fundamental component of all traffic enforcement programs.

GHSA supports the use of automated enforcement in efforts to enforce speeding, red light running and other traffic violations and urges states to enact legislation allowing the use of these technologies by the law enforcement community.

1 National Center for Statistics and Analysis. (2019, October). 2018 fatal motor vehicle crashes: Overview. (Traffic Safety Facts Research Note. Report No. DOT HS 812 826). Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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Laws

Speed and red light cameras automated enforcement technologies used to detect and deter speeders and red light runners. Some jurisdictions use similar technology for other traffic violations, such as illegal rail crossings or toll violations.

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