Social Question

mrentropy's avatar

Emergency vehicles and stop lights that take pictures to give you a ticket: What about this situation?

Asked by mrentropy (17188points) May 21st, 2010

Yesterday on my way to work I saw this happen at an intersection:
My way, North-South, had a green light, but traffic was stopped because an ambulance was coming.

Due to the way the road is set up, the people going East-West (with the red light) had nowhere to go to make room for the ambulance so they had to go through the red light and move over.

If this intersection had those cameras that take pictures of cars running red lights, would those people now expect to get tickets in the mail for running red lights or is there some kind of human intervention that checks them for instances like these?

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6 Answers

john65pennington's avatar

The law states that you are to move to the right side of the road and yield to emergency vehicles. if going through a red light safely, means yielding to the emergency vehicle, then this is a defense for the citation, issued through the stop light camera. the camera will take a photo of the emergency vehicle passing through the instersection and this photo can be used in court as a defense for the ticket receipient.

The law is all about common sense and intent. you were not intentionally violating a traffic law. you were obeying another traffic law, which is of a higher degree, than simply running a red light.

mrentropy's avatar

@john65pennington Okay, but you would still get the ticket. I’m sure it would be dismissed, I was just wondering if there was anybody that actually checked these things out before citations were mailed.

john65pennington's avatar

When an emergency vehicle approaches a stop light camera intersection, photos are automatically taken from all four sides of the intersection. this is for the governments liability. its that way in my city. generally, the citations are not issued, because of the already programmed system that disallows the printed citation in this situation. no one checks the photos here. no citations would be issued. it may be entirely different where you live. you can check your local parking and traffic department for more info.

mrentropy's avatar

Oh, nifty :) You get two GA’s from me for the additional info. Thanks!

I was thinking it would be really unfair for someone to have to show up in court to fight a ticket like that, just because it would be a PIA and all. As for finding out more in my local area… I’m not that interested.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

The intersection has a red-light camera, but not an infrared actuator for emergency vehicles? That’s an odd sense of priority on somebody’s part.

The problem around here is that too many intersections don’t have actuators to flip the signal for emergency vehicles, so they have to contend with the kind of situation you described.

mrentropy's avatar

@IchtheosaurusRex Well that’s a bummer. I’m mostly a right-side driver anyway, so it’s usually not an issue for me. But maybe I should find out more just in case I do get into a situation like that.

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