Question: At an intersection with a red traffic light camera, what period of time does it take for the camera to be considered a complete stop before turning right at a red light?
Answer: Behind that question is history, right? Someone else read the question and thought, “Someone just got a ticket.” This is too specific a question to be just a curiosity.
The red light camera is, in essence, sensors, cameras and a computer. Sensors installed in the sidewalk measure the movement of cars through the intersection. When the traffic light is green, the computer ignores messages from the sensors. When the light is red, the computer is listening. When the sensor says, “Hey, computer, this car is still moving,” the computer tells the camera to take some pictures of the car. The employee then reviews the data to confirm the violation. People who design these systems may tell you it’s more complicated, but you haven’t asked an engineer.
I guess the technical answer to your question is that it takes a period of time set by a designer or programmer. However, the real determining factor is the law. We know that a red traffic light means a stop. From what I’ve noticed, not everyone agrees with the definition of a stop, so let’s check the law. The revised Washington Code defines a stop as a “complete cessation of traffic.” There’s no set amount of time you have to stop, but if you’re still moving (even slightly), you’re not obeying the law. Based on this, the red traffic light camera would need to be programmed so that if you stop completely, at least briefly (in the case of a right turn to a red one), it would recognize it as a stop.
Note: If you turn right at a red light, stopping for a fraction of a second may meet the law of stopping, but not enough time to make sure the turn is safe. Along with checking cars you should also look for pedestrians traveling the other way. The most dominant event before an accident in a collision of both pedestrians and cyclists is a turn or merger of the vehicle. Deaths when turning right are rare, but more than half of them are pedestrians and cyclists.
Several polls, including one conducted by the Road Safety Insurance Institute, found that most drivers favor red light cameras, but not everyone likes them. Some people claim that they are violating the constitution (not true), this is an invasion of privacy (not true – the law prohibits taking pictures of the faces of passengers), and yellow lights are shorter at intersections with cameras (also not true – the law prohibits reducing the yellow light after installing cameras ). In fact, criticism of red light cameras is basically just that we don’t want to admit that we don’t like being caught.
Even if you don’t like them, there’s a lot of evidence that they work. I could bore you with the many studies that find a reduction in mortality, injuries and disorders when cameras are installed at a red light. Instead, I’ll give you one: red light cameras reduce fatal fatalities by 21%. We often talk about people’s behavior and traffic accidents, but the way we develop our transportation infrastructure has a big impact on how we manage. Red light cameras are one of the tools available to create a safer driving environment (both walking and cycling).