A Redwood City Traffic Attorney Discusses Traffic Cameras

Posted on May 8, 2013

Traffic Cameras

The purported reason for installing traffic cameras is to enhance public safety. As your Redwood City traffic attorney can attest, this premise is subject to debate. In fact there is a great deal of controversy surrounding these lights and whether or not they are an instrument of public safety or just a tool for increasing state revenues.

The Safety Aspect

By their very presence, traffic cameras are supposed to act as a deterrent as well as a means of identifying and penalizing wrongdoers. The general theory proposes that a motorist is less likely to run a red light if his or her image can be caught on film and the driver can be ticketed thereby. In a perfect world, the more likely the motorist is to believe he or she can be caught at it, the less likely the driver might be to run the light in the first place. Your Redwood City traffic attorney can explain situations in which this may or may not actually be the case.

The Flaws in the Theory

Unfortunately, as your Redwood City traffic lawyer can tell you, our world is not perfect. It has been argued that red-light cameras can actually increase the danger of an accident by causing a driver to attempt a panic stop, possibly triggering a collision. It has also been argued that the use of these cameras can constitute a violation of your state’s constitution. Whether or not the cameras are legal under constitutional law is, once again, open to debate. Since state constitutions are not identical, finding a comprehensive standard upon which to base the legality of traffic cameras is extremely difficult, if it is possible at all.

The Technology

Your Redwood City traffic attorney can explain that when the light turns red a computer activates the camera. A wire beneath the surface of the street approaching the light is connected to the computer and senses when the motorist has crossed it (the violation). The camera then photographs the vehicle and/or the driver so that a traffic citation can be issued.

There are actually two photographs taken. The first is snapped when the vehicle enters the intersection. The second is taken as the driver continues through it. Depending on the statutes applied in the states that allow traffic cameras, and not all of them do, the picture may be of the driver or of the rear of the vehicle in order to record the license plate. Such details as when and where the violation took place, the speed at which the vehicle was travelling,and the length of time between the changing of the light and the entry of the vehicle into the intersection are also recorded.

Call Your Redwood City Traffic Attorney for Help

If you have been cited by means of a traffic camera, be sure that you know your options. Contact a Redwood City traffic lawyer from Silveira Law at (415) 795-3890 today.