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Citations involving automated traffic light cameras


Machines

Traffic signals are machines.  They have at least two and often more computers inside a box near the signal that are programmed to turn the light bulbs on and off.  Because of their complexity, they can fail in a varied number of ways.  Some fail into a state where they flash red or yellow rather than control traffic.  Other ways include failing in a totally dark state.  More ominious is the programming.  Improper programming or a glitch that modifies the program can allow the signal to continue to operate even though it no longer is following the intended operation.

Another machine

Now add another machine.  This machine is designed to recognize when a vehicle has passed a particular point after the signal has turned red.  This machine is as or more complex than the traffic signal.  It involves computers, sensors, cameras, wiring and all other other accompanyments of a complex device.  It too can fail.

My experience

I am expert in the operation of traffic signals. For twelve years I supervised a network of fifty traffic signals.  I became expert not only in maintaining the signals, but in the operation of the hardware and software that define the signals. I became expert at signage and many of the engineering requirements necessary for proper traffic flow.  This experience is invaluable in assessing the proper application of criminal law when a client has been charged with signal or sign issue.

My approach

If retained on a red light camera citation my first task is to analyze the operation of the traffic signal.  This means I must document the physical structure, the programming and how traffic reacts to the signal.  I must compare the on-street programming to best practices to see if the programming is proper.

I then analyze the camera computers to try to determine if they are properly positioned, programmed and responding to the traffic flow.

At that point I can provide you with an understanding of your case.  Give me a call.

Laws relating to traffic camera citations

4511.094 Signs required for photo-monitoring devices.

(A) As used in this section:

(1) “Local authority” means a municipal corporation, county, or township.

(2) “Traffic law photo-monitoring device” means an electronic system consisting of a photographic, video, or electronic camera and a means of sensing the presence of a motor vehicle that automatically produces photographs, videotape, or digital images of the vehicle or its license plate.

(B)

(1) No local authority shall use traffic law photo-monitoring devices to enforce any traffic law until after it has erected signs on every highway that is not a freeway that is part of the state highway system and that enters that local authority. The signs shall inform inbound traffic that the local authority utilizes traffic law photo-monitoring devices to enforce traffic laws. The signs shall be erected within the first three hundred feet of the boundary of the local authority or, if the signs cannot be located within the first three hundred feet of the boundary of the local authority, as close to that distance as possible, provided that if a particular highway enters and exits the territory of a local authority multiple times, the local authority shall erect the signs as required by this division at the locations in each direction of travel where inbound traffic on the highway first enters the territory of the local authority and is not required to erect additional signs along such highway each time the highway reenters the territory of the local authority. The local authority is responsible for all costs associated with the erection, maintenance, and replacement, if necessary, of the signs. All signs erected under this division shall conform in size, color, location, and content to standards contained in the manual adopted by the department of transportation pursuant to section 4511.09 of the Revised Code and shall remain in place for as long as the local authority utilizes traffic law photo-monitoring devices to enforce any traffic law. Any ticket, citation, or summons issued by or on behalf of the local authority for any traffic law violation based upon evidence gathered by a traffic law photo-monitoring device after the effective date of this section, but before the signs have been erected is invalid; provided that no ticket, citation, or summons is invalid if the local authority is in substantial compliance with the requirement of this division to erect the signs.

(2) A local authority is deemed to be in substantial compliance with the requirement of division (B)(1) of this section to erect the advisory signs if the authority does both of the following:

(a) First erects all signs as required by division (B)(1) of this section and subsequently maintains and replaces the signs as needed so that at all times at least ninety per cent of the required signs are in place and functional;

(b) Annually documents and upon request certifies its compliance with division (B)(2)(a) of this section.

(C) A local authority that uses traffic law photo-monitoring devices to enforce any traffic law at an intersection where traffic is controlled by traffic control signals that exhibit different colored lights or colored lighted arrows shall time the operation of the yellow lights and yellow arrows of those traffic control signals so that the steady yellow indication exceeds by one second the minimum duration for yellow indicators at similar intersections as established by the provisions of the manual adopted by the department of transportation under section 4511.09 of the Revised Code.