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City of Memphis Uses Red Light Cameras to Prevent Car Accidents

In 2009, the City of Memphis joined several other Tennessee cities in its use of red light cameras. These cameras can capture images that are used to fine drivers who run red lights at some of the City’s busiest intersections. The cameras work by taking by taking multiple high resolution photographs of a vehicle as it enters the intersection under a red light.

Red light cameras are also used in many other states and cities. When functioning properly, they use a motion sensor detector that is activated when a car passes the stop bar at an intersection after the traffic signal has turned red. Once the car passes the stop bar, multiple images of the vehicle are taken. The first picture is of the vehicle immediately prior to entering the intersection. It shows the vehicle before the intersection along with the red traffic signal. A second image is of the car in the middle of the intersection with the signal still red. In addition to these still photographs, the cameras can record video of the intersection.

The evidence from the cameras is reviewed by a private company that a municipality has contracted with to operate the cameras. Evidence is also reviewed by the police department in order to determine if a violation has occurred. Once this determination has been made, the registered owner of the vehicle is mailed a Notice of Violation along with a civil fine. Civil fines based on evidence obtained from red light cameras have been upheld by Tennessee Courts.

According to the City of Memphis, the red light camera program was implemented in order to prevent car crashes caused by the illegal running of red lights. While certain research actually shows that the number of rear end collisions at these intersections goes up, the number of right angle collisions, one of the deadliest types of car crashes, does decrease in the intersections where red light cameras have been installed. The City began by installing cameras at the top 20 most dangerous intersections in Memphis, including Poplar Avenue and Highland Street, Riverdale Road and Winchester Road, and Germantown Parkway and Trinity Road. Since 2009, the City has expanded red light cameras to several other intersections.

While studies show that the red light cameras are useful in preventing dangerous car accidents at intersections and stoplights, the cameras can also be a useful tool in car accident litigation. Often, when there is an auto accident in which one of the drivers has disregarded a red traffic signal, there is a dispute between the parties as to who actually had the green light. Unless there are independent witnesses who are willing to wait around and give a statement to the police, the police may not be able to determine who was at fault for the accident. In these situations, it can become a case of one person’s word against another’s word, which means proving that the other driver was at fault can be difficult.

If there is a car accident at an intersection in the Memphis area that has been set up with red light cameras, it can become much easier to determine which driver is at fault. However, obtaining the photographs and video from the police department may be difficult and require the use of a subpoena. If you have been in a car accident involving an intersection that uses red light cameras, you should consult our Memphis car wreck attorneys as soon as possible in order to make sure that any and all evidence surrounding the accident can be obtained and preserved. For a free consultation, call Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz at 1-800-LAW-4004 today.