Shedding light on red light speed cameras

Speed Camera

What constitutes a red light speed camera infringement?

  1. Red light speed cameras are labelled ‘safety cameras’ but their alternative name is more accurate: they will take your picture if you are speeding at any time (i.e. whether the lights are red, amber or green) or if you run a red light. Red-light speed cameras operate automatically day and night. 
  2. You have run a red light if your vehicle crosses the white stop line – which is the first unbroken line if there is a pedestrian crossing area – after the lights have turned red. Sensors under the road and just before the white stop line are timed with the lights to trigger the camera (or cameras). Usually, two photos are taken in quick succession.
  3. As soon as the light turns red, the line becomes active. The red light camera will take a photo when an active line is crossed. The State Debt Recovery Office (SDRO) reviews all images and will only take action where it is clear that you have crossed the white line on a red light.
  4. The cameras record the date and time of the offence, the location, the direction you were travelling, the speed you were doing, the speed limit that applies and the lane you were travelling in. Basically, it’s a photo that can be used as evidence. Oh, and don’t forget that they can (or should be able to) clearly see your number plate. 

Where are red-light speed cameras located in NSW?

There are 201 red light speed cameras in New South Wales. You can find a full list of red-light speed camera locations here. They are installed at intersections that are identified as having a high crash risk, either through a known crash history or the potential for serious crashes.  The locations are reviewed on an ongoing basis.

Does the whole vehicle or just part of it need to travel beyond the white stop line after the red light appears to trigger the camera?

The rear wheels need to be past the line before the red light comes on to avoid triggering the camera. The camera is not triggered by vehicles crossing the stop line on yellow (amber) or green lights.  

What if I entered the intersection on a yellow (amber) light?

Revenue NSW reviews all images and will only take enforcement action when it is clear that a vehicle has proceeded through a red light at an intersection.

How do I appeal the infringement?

If you receive a speed camera infringement, you can look up the details of your alleged misdemeanour on the SDRO website – the information required will be on your infringement notice. Once there, you should be able to view or download a copy of the actual photo taken that is being used as evidence for your penalty.

If you think the fine was issued unjustly, you can request a review. Three things could then happen:

  1. The penalty will stand, meaning that the offence was proven and you will either have to pay the fine or elect to have the matter decided in court.
  2. You could receive a caution, whereby the SDRO believes that the penalty notice was issued correctly but based on a clean driving record of over 10 years or special evidence you have provided they will let you off this time (no fine or points) but the caution will be recorded on your driving history.
  3. It will be cancelled with no fines or points as the SDRO believes the penalty notice was issued in error or does not sufficiently disclose the offence.

NRMA Members who need more advice can have a chat to one of our motoring advice specialists on 13 11 22. If further legal action is required, always seek the advice of a solicitor or a professional legal service.