Frequently Asked Questions

Red Light Cameras FAQ

Is "red light running" really that big a problem?

Yes. Red light runners cause hundreds of deaths and tens of thousands of injuries each year. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, annually over 700 people are killed and an estimated 118,000 are injured in crashes that involved red light running. What's worse, more than half of the deaths in red light running crashes are not the red light runners, but instead are the pedestrians, bicyclists and occupants in the "other vehicles" who are hit by the red light runners. 

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How can red light traffic cameras help?

Red light cameras will help us enforce traffic laws by automatically photographing vehicles whose drivers run red lights. The system continuously monitors the traffic signal, and the camera is triggered by any vehicle entering the intersection after the signal has turned red. Cameras record the date, time of day, time elapsed since the beginning of the red signal, vehicle speed and license plate.

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Why can't the police monitor the intersections instead?

We're committed to keeping you and your neighbors safe, but no community can afford to police every red-light intersection every hour of every day. The new cameras will help keep our roads safer, allowing officers to spend their time protecting Albany in other ways. 

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What else can we expect from the photo enforcement camera system?

Across the country, cameras have been shown to substantially reduce violations, decrease the number of crashes, and improve driver behavior. This technology will also allow us to "flip a switch" during certain emergencies such as bank robberies or child abductions in order to detect known suspect vehicles on the roadway.

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Does someone double-check the photograph before drivers are ticketed?

Yes. Trained police officers review every picture to verify vehicle information and ensure the vehicle is in violation. Violations are mailed to vehicle owners only in cases where it is clear the vehicle ran a red light. A red light violation occurs when the vehicle is clearly behind the stop line, the traffic light is red and the vehicle continues through the intersection while the traffic light is red.

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How much will it cost? Can we afford this?

There is no cost to our community for installing, operating or maintaining the system. It will take police personnel to manage the program, approve the violations and work through the appeals and collection process. However, the entire program will be funded by the violators. And, if our results are like those in many communities, there will also be surplus revenue for Albany to re-invest in public safety and infrastructure improvements.  

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Is this just a way for Albany to make money?

No. Our main objective is to deter violators, not to catch them. Signs will be posted at every intersection warning drivers that photo enforcement is in use. But if drivers continue to run red lights, they will be fined. Any revenue generated will be from violators, just as we receive fines from the courts today.

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Then why are we implementing this program?

There are three primary reasons for this program. Safety, SAFETY and SAFETY! Objective research indicates that the red light cameras will make these three intersections safer for Albany residents, their families and for all who drive through Albany. 

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How were the intersections chosen?

Camera locations are based on the number of violations, the number of accidents (especially accidents with injuries) and the difficulty to effectively and SAFELY do "traditional enforcement" at these intersections. 

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Will people know when those intersections are coming up?

Yes, in addition to the signage at the intersection, prior to the intersection as well warning drivers that photo enforcement is in use, ahead.

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Do red light cameras have a positive track record?

Yes. Cameras are already used for law enforcement in many major US cities as well as towns, counties and communities of all sizes. 

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How do other communities feel about red light traffic cameras?

Most people support red light cameras. Like anything new, there is bound to be an adjustment period. But soon drivers here will get used to obeying traffic rules and see that everyone else is too. Over time, most of the community will agree that the benefits of increased safety make them worthwhile.

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