Red Light Camera Information

How they work

A red light camera intersection will always have a sensor and a camera. The sensor is always the most important component of how fast a camera will react to and photograph a vehicle that has passed into an intersection after a traffic light has turned red. There are also cameras that will photograph a vehicle passing through an intersection while the traffic light has turned yellow. The number of instances of yellow light camera tickets are not overly excessive, but are a major source of contention for drivers.

The sensor is activated when motion is detected just before the "stop" bar after the traffic light has turned red. A flash of light from a photo strobe lights up the intersection area to maximize the readability of the numbers on a license plate. This also ensures in most cases that even if the license plate is dirty, or it is dark outside, there is a good chance that the person analyzing the photo afterwards will be able to identify the vehicle in the photo taken by the red light camera.

The Tickets

Once a vehicle has been identified in a red light camera photo, the ticket is sent to the known mailing address of the driver. The price of a red light camera ticket can range from sometimes as low as $75 to as high as $300. Many times the ticket is never received by the intended recipient however the offense remains in a computer database. In other cases people are not aware they have any outstanding red light camera tickets until they go to get their vehicle registration renewed. In worst case scenarios a warrant may be issued for their arrest.

In most red light camera photos the driver is not identified properly. When a red light camera photo is taken showing the rear of the vehicle, you cannot see the face of the person driving. Sometimes only the shape of the head of the driver is visible, or if there is tint in the windows, the driver is not visible at all. Excessive glare has the same effect on red light camera photos.

Red light camera photos showing the front of the vehicle can sometimes clearly show the face of a person driving, but not always. Some drivers will even cover their face while going through an intersection, so they can later argue and or dispute the red light camera ticket. The owner of the vehicle is forced to prove his or her innocence by identifying the driver of the vehicle within the red light camera ticket.

In the name of privacy some courts or private contractors send out the red light camera ticket without the actual photo. The vehicle owner must go to the courthouse or municipal building to view the red light camera photograph. This can be inconvenient, and in many cases the vehicle owner will pay the ticket without further investigating the red light camera photo. The owner would never be aware if the photo actually showed them clearly enough to definitively prove it was them driving the vehicle.



There are many different products available used to prevent red light camera tickets from being issued to the owner of the car.

The license plate protector

This is a very commonly used item which has many different forms available. There are 2 popular types although many variant products of the same idea exist. Lenticular license plate covers When viewed directly, the numbers appear perfectly. When viewed at a different angle, the numbers on your plate either invisible or different in appearance. Crystallized license plate covers reflect too much light back to the red light camera which will result in an overexposed photo. Results of using license plate covers vary depending on conditions and lighting. Success rate is medium.

Considered illegal in most States and Provinces.

Video Examples:

The Spray

Many different sprays on the market which make your license plate extra reflective and glossy in appearance. Like the license plate cover it is supposed to reflect too much light back to the red light camera which will result in an overexposed photo. Results of using sprays by most web accounts and news stories is that the different products do almost nothing to affect a red light camera photo when a flash is not used. Success rate is minimal.

Considered illegal in most States and Provinces.

Video Example:

The Retractor

This device will quickly rotate your license plate when activated. The driver must remember to activate the retractor every time they wish to use it. It does not self activate. Difficult to install and hide from inspection and other motorists. Highly effective.

Considered illegal in most States and Provinces.

Video Example:

GPS Red Light Camera Warning Systems


Different in principle from other products because GPS red light camera warning systems do nothing to affect or prevent a red light camera from taking a photo. They remind and warn you about a red light camera intersection nearby well in advance. Also adding extra awareness that the intersection the driver is approaching is high risk. This gives the driver a choice to run the red light camera or not. It also makes them aware that when they have a green light to be extra cautious because someone else may try to run the red light. Overall GPS red light camera warning systems over time cause the driver to become more aware of their driving conditions and help prevent from accidentally going through red light camera intersections, resulting red light camera tickets. Highly effective in giving adequate notice of a nearby red light camera usually causing driver to not run the red light. Completely legal. Overall benefit to society and owner of GPS red light camera warning system. Added benefit to driver giving more value to an already very useful GPS system.