Short Yellow Light at Red Light Camera Intersection?

If you find yourself thinking you have no defense to a red light photo ticket, don’t give up yet! You can still try to argue you could not have stopped safely within such a short time and short distance from the limit line and slamming on the brakes would have posed a greater danger to yourself and others than continuing through.

Look on your ticket for the late time (for example on a Red Flex ticket this will be displayed on the black bar across the top of the photos displayed vertically on the right-hand side). If the red light camera ticket you received has a very short light time, for example, one-tenth of a second (0.1), wouldn’t it have been very difficult to stop behind the limit line for the light when it changed? Even more so if it was raining. Perhaps slamming on the brakes would have resulted in you skidding into the middle of the intersection where you would have blocked traffic.

If your ticket does not show a late time then you can usually judge how long the light had been red by the position of other vehicles around you. If there were other vehicles turning left at the same time as you or going straight through and cross-traffic hasn’t moved past their limit line, then it’s likely the light wasn’t red for long at all. Of course, if you were turning right, it’s more likely than not that the light was already red and that you rolled through, so it’s chance if you don’t have the red time.

The majority of tickets do show the red time and you stand a better chance if the red time is below five-tenths of a second (0.5) because although the law does not mandate them to do so, some local governments employ grace periods of up to before their red-light cameras will begin taking photographs. Grace periods such as these are employed because it is understood that the shorter the red time the less likely the driver could have stopped in time. You stand an even better chance if that red time is three-tenths of a second (0.3) or below because as previously indicated by the Federal Highway Administration, a grace period of three-tenths of a second is commonly used and five-tenths of a second is the international standard.

Contributed by, helping drivers contest and dismiss their traffic tickets.