How does the system work?

Red-light Photo Enforcement

Photo enforcement at traffic signals consists of a single pole with a radar unit, a camera, a strobe and a controller. The system is placed before the intersection, pointed toward the traffic signal and activates when motion is detected just before the crosswalk and after the traffic signal has turned red. The camera captures two images of the alleged violation taken from the rear of the vehicle. The first image shows the vehicle at the stop bar with the red light illuminated and the second image is captured with the vehicle in the middle of the intersection. The license plate is determined from a closeup of one of the photos. Information including date, time and duration of the yellow and red lights are also recorded. In addition to the still images, a 12-second digital video is recorded of the alleged violation, six seconds before and six seconds after the vehicle enters the intersection.

School speed zone photo enforcement

School speed zone enforcement cameras work in a similar way to the red-light photo enforcement. Two images are captured; the first image of the alleged violation is taken of the vehicle traveling above the predetermined speed with the school zone flashers activated. The second image shows the distance and time the vehicle has traveled with the flashers activated.  

After the photos are taken

When a camera snaps a photo of a red light or speeding violation, the citation for the alleged violation gets sent to the owner of the vehicle. Washington law allows for this based on a presumption that the owner was driving the vehicle at the time that the offense was committed. If you were not the driver of the vehicle (i.e., the car was sold, stolen, or under the care, custody and control of another person) an Affidavit of Non-Responsibility stating you were not driving the vehicle at the time can be submitted. 

You will be able to view pictures and video of the alleged violation. Under the ordinance and statute, the cameras may only take pictures of the vehicle and the vehicle’s license plate and only while the infraction is occurring; the photos must not reveal the face of the driver or passengers. Photographs, electronic images or any other personally identifying data from automated traffic safety cameras are for the exclusive use of law enforcement and are prohibited under the statute from release to the public.