Speed and Red Light Cameras

Speed and red light cameras are a type of automated enforcement technology used to detect and deter speeders and red light runners. Some jurisdictions use similar technology for other traffic violations, such as illegal rail crossings or toll violations.

Many states have enacted legislation either permitting, limiting or prohibiting the use of speed or red light cameras at the state or local level. Enforcement can be limited to a particular area or community. Penalties usually are more lenient than those used with traditional enforcement. For example, the fine may be lower, points may not be assessed, or the citation may not go on the driver's record.

Some localities operate speed and/or red light cameras even if the state does not specific permit or prohibit it. The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety maintains a list of all communities operating automated enforcement. This list changes and is updated regularly.

Speed Cameras

  • 13 states have passed laws that prohibit (with very narrow exceptions) the use of speed cameras. 28 states have no law addressing speed cameras. All other states either permit the use of speed cameras (2 + D.C.) or limit their use by location or other criteria (7 + U.S. Virgin Islands).
  • 12 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands have speed cameras currently operating in at least one location.

Red Light Cameras

  • 21 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands have enacted laws permitting some form of red light camera use, with 9 states and the District of Columbia fully permitting use, and 12 states and the Virgin Islands allowing limited use. 10 states prohibit their use, and 19 states have no state law concerning red light camera enforcement.
  • 24 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands have red light cameras currently operating at least one location.

NOTE: GHSA does not compile any additional data on speed and red light camera laws other than what is presented here. For more information, consult the appropriate State Highway Safety Office.

Sources: National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and State Highway Safety Offices.

Short Term Description
Speed and red light cameras are a type of automated enforcement technology used to detect and deter speeders and red light runners. Some jurisdictions use similar technology for other traffic violations, such as illegal rail crossings or toll violations.

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Speed and Red Light Cameras: Virginia

Speed Cameras

No state law or programs


Red Light Cameras

Violation/State Law

Limited

Permitted Locations/Criteria

Local ordinance required; one site per 10,000 residents (up to 10 sites in D.C. area)

Citation Issued To/Liability

Registered owner/Driver

Image Taken

2 photos or other recorded images

Penalties (Traditional Penalties)

$50 maximum; no court costs; not a criminal offense; no points; not used by insurers ($200 maximum; 4 points)

Speed and Red Light Cameras: Virgin Islands

Speed Cameras

Violation/State Law

Limited

Permitted Locations/Criteria

Beginning or end or highway

Citation Issued To/Liability

Driver or registered owner

Image Taken

Photo; electronic image

Penalties (Traditional Penalties)

$25 or 2 to 12 points


Red Light Cameras

Violation/State Law

Limited

Permitted Locations/Criteria

Beginning or end of highway

Citation Issued To/Liability

Driver or registered owner

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