Speed Cameras: Can a lawyer help beat the ticket?

Speed is one of the main causes of car crashes. Cars traveling at high speeds are more likely to cause accidents than cars traveling at lower speeds. In fact, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, crashes are four times more likely to occur when a car is going 65 mph than when it is going 35 mph. 

The good news is that many communities, including Philadelphia, have recognized this and installed speed cameras as a way to cut down on excessive speeding. These speed cameras can help reduce the number of car crashes by enforcing speed limits and reminding drivers that they need to drive at a reasonable pace. 

But how do these speed cameras help minimize car crashes while also preventing people from breaking the law? Let’s take a look...

What is a Speed Camera?

Speed cameras are surveillance devices that are placed along roadways to automatically take photographs of vehicles and their driver as they go by. These photographs are then used to determine the vehicle’s speed. 

In some cases, a driver’s exact speed is recorded and then used to generate an automated ticket. The main reason why speed cameras are used is to enforce speed limits. If you are driving at 65 mph on a rural highway, it wouldn’t make much sense to have a camera there to enforce the speed limit of just 55 mph. 

Instead, the camera would be placed where there is a road that is designed for 55 mph, but where there are also a lot of people who are driving at 65 mph because that stretch of highway is a commuter route.

Speeding Camera
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How Do Speed Cameras Help Reduce Car Crashes?

One of the main goals of any traffic control device is to reduce crashes. Therefore, it stands to reason that speed camera programs are designed to reduce the number of car crashes. Using automated speed enforcement systems at a high enough rate can substantially reduce the number of car crashes by changing driver behavior when it comes to speeding. 

For example, anyone who is driving at 65 mph on a rural highway should be aware that they are probably going a bit too fast. Therefore, a speed camera would likely have no impact on the driver’s speed. 

But if the same person is driving on a busy urban corridor, they are likely to speed even more. If a speed camera is in place there, the person will likely slow down when they see the camera. This change in driver behavior can reduce the number of crashes on that stretch of highway.

Sensors and Automated Photos

There are various ways that a speed camera can be used to enforce speed limits and reduce car crashes. One way is to use an automated photo ticketing system with radar sensors that take photographs and automatically fill out tickets for speeding drivers. 

Another way is to use automated photo tickets to enforce minimum speed limits. For example, a speed camera set up on a rural highway could be used to enforce the speed limit while also enforcing a minimum speed limit of 55 mph.

Which towns use speed cameras?

Many communities have chosen to use speed cameras in an effort to reduce car crashes. In fact, more than 20 states have enacted laws that allow some form of speed camera enforcement. 

Either by manually taking photographs of vehicles or by using radar sensors to automatically determine the vehicle’s speed, these cameras can be used to enforce speed limits and reduce car crashes. 

Typically, these cameras are placed on high-risk roadways. For example, they can be placed along highways that are known to have a high number of car crashes or along roads that are used by many high-risk drivers.

Speed Cameras and Philadelphia: Do They Help?

Roosevelt Boulevard is notorious for vehicle crashes that lead to serious injuries and unfortunately death. In order to combat this, speed cameras were put into place. In 2020, the speed cameras were dispersed throughout the 14 miles of roadway that is Roosevelt Boulevard.

Since this time, crashes have dropped by 36% and it is noticed that drivers are being more cautious on the road. Average speeds have been overall reduced since the installation of the cameras and the number of speeding tickets has rapidly declined. 

This data proves that the sums of money given for this purpose were not a waste. Furthermore, revenue from the tickets must only further be used to fund road safety in Pennsylvania. With that being said, there is now $14.5 million available for further road safety. These funds came from the first installment of speed-camera enforcement money.

This $14.5 million will be used to extend curbs and sidewalks to ensure the safety of pedestrians, realign lanes, add an increased number of bus shelters, and invest in better times traffic signals, which can also reduce the number of crashes on Roosevelt Boulevard. 

Due to the funds and extended research on speed cameras, residents of Philadephia would like to expand the area of the speed cameras to other unsafe roads. These include Lincoln Drive, Ridge Avenue, and Cobbs Creek Parkway. 

Philadelphia currently has a law in place legalizing the use of speed cameras in work zones until 2024. While they have been legal to use for red-light violations since 2010. Again, since the use of these cameras, traffic violations have decreased. Furthermore, to protect the safety of the citizens, these cameras do not photograph the front of the vehicle. 

Exceptions to the Rule

While speed cameras can have a positive impact on car crashes by reducing excessive speeds, there are some important considerations that need to be taken into account. First, these cameras only work if a driver has committed a speeding violation.

A driver who is driving at 65 mph in a 55 mph zone is not committing a speeding violation and will not be ticketed by the camera. Second, these cameras can only be used for the express purpose of reducing car crashes. The law does not allow these cameras to be used for revenue purposes.

Can Speed Cameras Give False Readings?

Some people worry that speed cameras can give false readings. The truth is that this is incredibly unlikely to happen. First, the speed of all vehicles is recorded, not just the speed of the vehicles that are being ticketed. 

So even if a camera gives a reading that is slightly off, the rest of the recorded speed will be correct. Secondly, the cameras are calibrated and maintained regularly to ensure that they are working properly. If a camera is giving a slightly inaccurate reading, it will likely be calibrated or adjusted by a trained staff member.

How Can a Lawyer Help?

If a driver is being ticketed for speeding, it makes sense to negotiate the fine amount or consider taking matters to court. But with a speed camera, things are quite a bit more complicated. 

First, it is crucial to understand how the equipment works. If a camera is being used to enforce speed limits, it will not be calibrated to give any type of judgment. If a driver is speeding and is ticketed, it will simply be a matter of documenting their speed. 

However, it is still important to seek legal advice to help ensure that you are in the right. This is because the law on speed cameras is complicated and often misunderstood. You will have a much better chance of negotiating a lower fine or getting the ticket dismissed if you are armed with the proper knowledge.

With that being said, we can help you with these situations. Give us a call today!

The Bottom Line

Simply put, speed cameras are a way for police to enforce speed limits and remind drivers to drive at a reasonable pace. These devices are typically only used on high-risk roadways where there is a high risk of car crashes. 

However, with proper understanding and legal advice, you can successfully negotiate a lower fine or have the ticket dismissed. If you are concerned about excessive speed, you should know that there are a number of ways that communities are using to reduce excessive speeding. One way is to use speed cameras.

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