Shedding light on red light speed cameras

Speed Camera
Sarah, an NRMA Member wrote to us seeking clarity on what constitutes a red light speed camera infringement. It’s actually something we had often wondered about too, so here’s the blow-by-blow:

  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.
  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. If you have entered the intersection (i.e. crossed the white stop line) when the lights are amber or they have gone red while you are waiting within the intersection to turn right, the camera generally will not take your picture – unless perhaps you then reverse over the sensors. 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?

Red-light speed cameras are being rolled out at 200 intersections across New South Wales. You can find a full list of red-light speed camera locations here

Sarah also asks an interesting question (sadly, based on her experience of trying to stop but not pulling up in time) about whether your whole vehicle or just part of it needs to travel beyond the white stop line after the red light appears in order to trigger the camera.

The rear wheels need to be past the line before the red light comes on to avoid triggering the camera but we would hope that, as part of the SDRO review process, a commonsense assessment would be made as to whether or not action is taken based on road conditions and other possible circumstances.

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 the circumstances or 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.

Our advice to Sarah would be to ask the SDRO for a review or have a chat to one of our motoring advice specialists on 13 11 22.

Have you ever been caught running a red light?