Under Virginia’s traffic codes, motorists must always stop their vehicles at a red light. As noted on the Virginia Law Library website, drivers may then turn right on red unless a sign warns they cannot make the turn. If you received a red light traffic ticket in the mail, an intersection’s camera may have captured images of your vehicle that appear to show you turning right without stopping.
Devices installed near intersection traffic lights may capture photos or videos of vehicles. The Virginia Department of Transportation requires local officials to place conspicuous warning signs at intersections monitored by cameras. Signs must appear no more than 500 feet from an intersection.
How do cameras know when to capture images?
As described by the FAQs provided by the Virginia DOT, cameras connect to sensors monitoring traffic flow at an intersection’s stop line. The cameras capture a series of images of vehicles moving at certain speeds and entering an intersection after its light has turned red.
While designed to reduce violations for running red lights, drivers might also receive tickets for turning on red even when they stop first. If you lawfully entered an intersection to turn right during a red light, the camera may have captured images of your vehicle. A law enforcement officer then reviews the images and decides whether to issue a ticket.
When may I contest an alleged traffic violation?
According to the LIS Virginia Law website, motorists may contest alleged traffic infractions without appearing in court if the offense did not cause personal injury or property damage. You may, however, require assistance in pleading your case to the traffic judge.
Virginia’s motorists must always exercise caution while entering an intersection. During safe road conditions and without pedestrians in the crosswalk, you may generally make a lawful right turn after stopping at a red light.