What you Need to Know About Traffic Light Cameras
Traffic light cameras are often placed at busy junctions and work to keep our roads safe. However, if you have ever run a red light you may not know whether you’ve been caught.
This isn’t always clear as there never seems to be an indication (Such as the flash of a camera) to let us know we’ve been caught.
Do not worry, this article will help you to understand what triggers the traffic light cameras and more.
How Do you Get Caught by Traffic Light Cameras?
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Red light cameras work by detecting vehicles that pass through the lights once they’ve turned red. They do this by using sensors or ground loops which are located on the road.
When the traffic lights have turned red the system becomes active. From this moment on, if a vehicle was to travel through the sensors of over the ground loops the camera will be ready for it.
What this ultimately means is that if you were to drive over through the red light you’re likely to get caught. This is because it’s an offence for your vehicle to pass the white line on the road.
If any part of the vehicle passed over the white line you could get caught. This is the case even if you have come to a stop and the front of your car is over the white line.
This is why you have to be so careful and make sure you always stop for a red traffic light.
Gatsometer Red Light Cameras
Most of the red light cameras in the UK are made by the Dutch company Gatsometer. “Gatso Cameras” such as these have radar technology built into them. They come with both speed and red light functions.
This means that they can detect when a driver has gone over the speed limit. If you are tempted to speed so you can make it passed a traffic light you should refrain from doing so.
Not only could you be caught going through a red light but you could also be prosecuted for speeding. This is why it makes sense to accept that you need to stop your vehicle and wait for the light to turn green.
Why We Need Traffic Light Cameras
Traffic cameras have been put in place to keep us safe. They are usually installed in areas that are considered to be high risk.
Areas such as these could be those locations where accidents have occurred or someone has been injured. These cases usually involve an accident or injury that has taken place once someone has run a red light.
You will often find fixed cameras light these at crossings and a few busy junctions. You’ll also tend to see some smaller fixed cameras on the very top of the traffic lights.
Cameras such as these are there to help the local authorities monitor congestion and traffic. However, these cameras do not flash when they detect a car that passes a red light.
Knowing if You’ve Been Caught
There is no absolute guarantee that you will know if you have been caught. If you see a camera flash you’ll know as the flash is quite unmistakable.
However, not every camera that is installed does flash. The Gatsometer camera which is often seen in a yellow box does always flash but there are others that don’t.
This can make it difficult to know whether you have been caught by the camera or not. A Gatsometer will detect vehicles that have gone over the white line or have broken the speed limit.
But there are also some new cameras out there that have an infra-red flash. Unfortunately, these flashes are not visible to any driver.
Truevelo-D speed cameras are the cameras that have an infra-red flash, and they can also be used as a red light camera. You will find out if this or any other camera has caught you when you receive a notice of intended prosecution (NIP).
You should receive this notice within 14 days and once the photographic evidence has been reviewed.
What Happens Next
When you have been caught by a traffic light camera the NIP will ask the vehicle’s registered owner to name the driver. This is the person who was driving the vehicle at the time of the alleged offence.
You will then be required to complete every section of the NIP and return it within 28 days. It’s likely that the NIP will ask you or the driver to plead guilty.
You will also be asked to pay a £100 fine or another fixed penalty which they have deemed appropriate. You will be asked to pay the fine so you do not have to go to court.
In addition to the fine, you will also have the right to appeal against the penalty notice. You can do this if you think you have mitigating circumstances for speeding or running a red light.
The Defences you can use
It is very likely that you will not get away with saying you did not mean to run a red light. This is especially the case if there is photographic evidence.
There are a few circumstances in which you may be able to ‘get off’ the NIP, these include proving you didn’t run a red light. The other circumstance involves proving the light or any signage that relates to the light is defective.
Any other reasons that you feel are important may be considered by the court. This could then lead to a re-assessment of any punishment such as penalty points.
Please note, you may not get away with it even if you let an emergency vehicle pass. This is because you should only let an emergency vehicle pass when it is safe to do so.
Red Lights and Fines
If you are caught running a red light you will have to pay a fine. This is because you would have put your safety and the safety of other people at risk.
At the time of writing, the penalty for running a red light is £100. 3 points will be added to your licence and they will stay there for up to 4 years.
If you do not respond to or sign your NIP or you fail to provide the details of the driver you could face prosecution. This means you may have to pay as much as £1,000 and receive 6 points on your licence.
If you are caught running a red light you may be offered the chance to attend a course. This course will prevent points being added to your licence.
If you have been caught running a red light more than once you will not have the chance to attend a course. The best way to avoid being fined or receiving points is to make sure you never run a red light.