We’ve all done it – driven through a changing traffic light, hurriedly moving through, praying we can do so before it turns from yellow to red. Then, you notice that dreaded white flash of light, which means your vehicle has probably been caught on a Pennsylvania red light camera.
Red light cameras in PA have an important role in community safety. They are meant to reduce intersection collisions without relying upon a heavy police presence monitoring driver behavior around red lights. However, as with anything else, red-light cameras don’t always tell the whole story, and not every traffic infraction is black and white.
A red-light camera ticket in Pennsylvania can cost you $100 or more in fines. But read on to read more about red-light cameras in PA and what happens if you are involved in a car accident near one.
Are There Red Light Cameras in Pennsylvania?
Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and municipalities boasting a population of 20,000 or more, as well as police departments that have been accredited through the PA Chiefs of Police Association in Montgomery, Chester, Bucks, and Delaware Counties, can choose to install red light cameras around intersections where frequent car accidents occur.
Although Harrisburg doesn’t currently utilize red-light camera technologies, there are many red-light cameras in Philadelphia and throughout its suburbs.
According to the Philadelphia Parking Authority’s 2021 Red Light Camera Report, the city issued almost 70,000 red light camera tickets and raised more than $19,175,000 in fines.
What Are the Penalties for Running Red Lights in Philadelphia?
If a Philadelphia red-light camera or any other red-light camera in the state catches you, you will get a citation mailed to you, carrying a fine of at least $100.
While you can simply plead guilty and pay your fine, you can also choose to plead not guilty to the charge and dispute the citation in court. This is an important option to consider if you think that the ticket was issued erroniously, if someone else was driving your car at the time of the alleged incident, or if you were involved in a traffic accident that ended up with you receiving a ticket.
Will Points Be Added to My License When Pleading Guilty to a Red-Light Ticket in PA?
No. Anyone who pleads guilty and pays the fine after a PA red light camera caught them running a red light will not have points added to their driver’s license. However, the same does not apply to tickets issued by law enforcement on the scene.
In Pennsylvania, if you are pulled over by police and issued a ticket for running a red light, you will face a more significant fine and the possibility of points being added to your driver’s license.
Both tickets can be appealed.
How Do Red Light Cameras Work?
Red light cameras at accident-prone Pennsylvania intersections capture photos and videos of vehicles entering on a red light. Sensors trigger the camera based on speed and red-light duration. Trained personnel or software review the images to confirm the violation before issuing a citation. If it is determined that the citation is warranted, the registered owner receives a ticket with the photos as evidence.
These cameras are also great evidence if you end up in a hit and run car accident and need your car accident lawyer to get you the evidence you need to win your case.
What Do Red Light Cameras Look Like?
Pennsylvania red light cameras are not always easy to identify. Red light cameras are usually mounted above traffic lights or on poles facing an intersection to obtain clear views. A controller box may also be visible on a nearby pole, and signs notifying drivers that photo enforcement is taking place are sometimes present.
Appealing a Red-Light Camera Ticket in PA
If you think a red-light camera ticket was issued to you in error, you may request a traffic court hearing and make your case to a judge. Even though you are not required to have legal representation in traffic court, having a red light camera attorney by your side offers the best opportunity for your case to have a positive outcome.
If you were issued a ticket for running a red light after being pulled over, having an attorney is especially important because these citations carry increased fines and points added to your driver’s license. Also, if you have had a previous traffic violation or car accident that led to the officer pulling you over, such as driving while intoxicated or speeding, you may even face jail time. A PA Car Accident Lawyer can help you in these tying times.
Unpaid Red-Light Camera Tickets in Pennsylvania
If you fail to pay for a ticket you received in the mail for running a red light in Pennsylvania, the municipality issuing the citation may forward it to collections. If that happens, you may end up owing late fees and additional charges. An unpaid $100 red-light camera ticket sent to collections can cost a driver hundreds of dollars when all is said and done.
What to Do About Traffic Accidents in PA
The best thing to do when you receive a red-light camera ticket in the mail is to pay your ticket quickly, but if you were involved in a traffic accident and you need to pursue your case, it's best to call in professional help.
The experienced Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers at Thistle Law are well-versed in PA traffic laws and understand the fallibility of the state’s growing number of red-light camera enforcement techniques.