Traffic and Red Light Cameras in Miami, FL
When you’re driving around Miami, you may notice some clunky-looking cameras mounted on poles around intersections. These devices are red light cameras, part of Florida’s system of automated law enforcement. Red light cameras help to ensure that drivers don’t run intersections and that those who do get ticketed.
But how do red light cameras work, and are they different from traffic cameras? Read on to learn more about these cameras and how they determine when a driver has committed a violation.
What Are Red Light Cameras?
Red light cameras are a fairly simple – if annoying – concept. These cameras automatically detect when someone is running a red light and take a picture of the car’s license plate. The state can then automatically send a ticket to the owner of the car for their traffic violation.
Where Are These Cameras?
You can see red light cameras at a number of intersections across Miami, Florida. They’re fairly easy to spot – they’re large 90s-looking cameras mounted on poles and facing toward the intersection.
There are ninety-six red light cameras spread out across Miami. Many of these cameras can be found at intersections along the A1A, and several more are set along the South Dixie Highway. You’ll also find a few red light cameras on NW 41st St and on I-27.
Traffic Camera vs. Red Light Camera
It’s important to remember that not every camera you see at an intersection is a red light camera. The city of Miami has also installed a selection of traffic cameras. These cameras aren’t designed to catch people running red lights, but are instead simple webcams meant to help Miami citizens scope out traffic conditions in a certain area before leaving the house.
How Do They Work?
So how do these red lights work, and can they be relied on to deliver accurate results? The system tracks any movement that happens just before the stop bar at an intersection once the light has turned red. If it sees movement there, it takes two pictures, both from the rear.
The first picture shows your car just as it crosses over the stop bar and enters the intersection. The second shows your vehicle in the middle of the intersection with the red light in plain view. One of these images will also be copied and cropped to show a detailed readout of your license plate.
The red light camera will also record the date and time of the violation, along with a twelve-second video showing the six seconds before and after the running of the red light.
How Accurate Are They?
Every incident reported by a red light camera gets individually reviewed by an officer in the Miami Police Department. There can be some false positives, especially if you come close to a red light. If your front wheels cross the stop bar, but your back wheels don’t, the camera may take a picture, but you won’t be ticketed.
In general, however, these cameras are accurate most of the time. In fact, experts estimate that at least 80 percent of incidents these cameras flag do turn out to be traffic violations.
Who Pays for a Red Light Ticket?
In normal traffic citation cases, the person driving the car is on the hook for any tickets they get. Most of the time, since the owner of the car is the one driving it, this doesn’t cause any problems. But a red light camera ticket can cause a bit of confusion in this area.
Tickets issued by red light cameras go to the owner of the car, even if they weren’t driving it at the time. The good news is that you may be able to contest the ticket if you can prove you weren’t driving the car at the time.
There have been some legal questions that have arisen surrounding red light cameras in Florida. Most of these cameras are installed by third-party contractors working with the city. The problem is that, in some areas, these cameras are also monitored by those third parties, which means operators at those companies, not police officers, are making the calls about when to issue tickets.
In spite of this controversy, the Florida Supreme Court has ruled that these cameras are legal and citations reviewed by third-party contractors are still valid. There have been several appeals on the issue, and courts there have been split. For the time being, red light cameras monitored by non-police organizations remain legal.
Get the Defense You Deserve
Red light cameras are just another tool in Miami’s arsenal of automated law enforcement systems. These cameras detect motion that may indicate you’re about to run a red light and document the incident so they can issue a ticket. This is different from traffic cameras, which just allow you to keep an eye on traffic conditions around Miami.
If you’ve gotten hurt in a car accident in Miami, Florida, you could be entitled to compensation. The personal injury lawyers at Shaked Law can help you get the settlement you deserve. Schedule a free consultation with us today and get the law firm with over a century of combined experience on your side.