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Did You Know – Red Light Review

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Did you know that when your car is photographed for running a red light it goes through a multi-step review process before an actual violation is issued?

The camera system activates when motion is detected after the traffic signal has turned red. The cameras capture two images of an alleged violation, taken from the rear of the vehicle. The first image shows the vehicle at the white stop bar and the illuminated red light. The second image shows the vehicle in the middle of the intersection with the red light illuminated.

The images then take a wireless journey to be closely monitored and double checked for accuracy. The images travel to the Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA) where a team of trained technicians carefully reviews the pending red light camera violation images. They check everything from the clarity of the license plate to all things in between. If there is any question about the accuracy of the violation, the images are reviewed again and may be dismissed immediately. But if a violation is confirmed at this stage, the data is then sent on for a more intensive review by a Philadelphia police officer. If it is a determined by the police officer that a violation occurred, then he/she issues the citation and it is mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle.

There are many reasons why images are rejected as non-violations. The top ones include:

1)  Vehicles stopped before crossing white line, so they triggered the camera but there was no violation

2)  Emergency Vehicles

3)  Vehicle position in  Frame B (similar to the first reason, meaning the position of the vehicle in the 2nd image shows the car hasn’t run the red light. It could be someone started to make a turn or they didn’t fully enter into the intersection)

4)  Funeral processions

Just because you see a camera flash, doesn’t always mean you’ll get a ticket, it has to be reviewed to ensure a violation actually occurred. Philadelphia’s Red Light Camera Program is about safety first and the goal is to change driver behavior so people stop running red lights.


Contact the red light division for questions and concerns about the red light program.

For all other questions visit our support tab.

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