Here’s the how and why of red light cameras

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Scoffing at traffic laws, or at least running stoplights, will become more difficult in Murfreesboro with the new automated camera system that will catch law-breakers in the act.

The first three cameras – at Memorial and Northfield boulevards, South Rutherford and Mercury boulevards, and South Church Street and Middle Tennessee Boulevard – should be in place by April 1.

The remaining four intersections – Old Fort Parkway and West Thompson Lane, Northwest Broad Street and West Northfield Boulevard, Broad and South Church streets, and Middle Tennessee and New Salem Highway – should be completed by July 1.

“These intersections were chosen for the high number of collisions that resulted from running red lights. What I’m talking about is side angle collisions or T-bones. Those are very dangerous collisions. That’s what we’re looking to prevent,” explained Kyle Evans, Murfreesboro Police Department spokesman.

The camera system comprises infrared sensor, which detects when a car passes over the stop line, and the camera itself.

“What happens is, when the light turns red,” Evans explained, “anything that is behind the sensor (at) the stop bar triggers that sensor when a car passes over it. The camera system starts to take pictures. It takes a picture of the vehicle before the stop bar, as it’s crossing the stop bar or short after it’s crossed the stop bar.”

This means it will not take pictures of cars traveling through yellow lights, just the red light runners. In other words, don’t cross that thick white stripe painted on city streets.

This is bad news for those who run lights. The cameras will catch light-runners in the act by taking three photographs of the vehicle and license plate, Evans said.

A 30-day grace period begins after the first three intersections are fully operational and warning tickets will be issued.

The photos are sent to the Murfreesboro Police Department where an officer reviews the pictures and determines whether there’s cause for a ticket.

Drivers will be identified by license plate number and checked through Tennessee’s vehicle registration database and $50 tickets are mailed to the violator.

Violators can either pay the fine by mail or contest the ticket in court.

In cases where the driver is not the tag holder, a sworn statement will be accepted in court.

“You’ll be required to provide evidence, maybe in the form of an affidavit or a sworn statement saying that you are not the driver and naming who is,” Evans said.

The citations will not affect either driving records or insurance rates.

Footage will be available for review at a kiosk at the court in City Hall. City spokesman Chris Shofner said a second possible kiosk may be set up at the Murfreesboro Police Department.

In 2007, Murfreesboro City Council approved plans to implement an automated red light camera system to help with traffic flow.

“If you have people running the red lights constantly then it defeats the purpose of timing the lights,” Evans said, noting even he has sat through lights where cars keep coming after it has turned.

According to Evans, there are other benefits to the community as well, like freeing up police officers to prevent crime and answer emergency calls.

To run a red light campaign, Evans explained, it takes three to five officers for a single intersection.

With the cameras a single officer can monitor the seven intersections, which keeps more cops on the streets.
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CITY, Murfreesboro, Red Light Cameras, Top 10
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Members Opinions:
January 20, 2008 at 12:00am
So if I get a ticket mailed to me whether I ran a red light or not, my options are either a) just pay it, or b) take time from work and go to court and try to prove my innocence. How can the city get away with this crap? The citations will not affect driving records or insurance rates ? I hope not, IT'S NOT FAIR !!!! What is our country coming to?

If the city cares so much about the safety of it's citizens on the road, why don't it do something about the kids who fly through my neighborhood everyday after school gets out ? Our concerns regarding that have always fallen on deaf ears.
January 21, 2008 at 12:00am
If I pull out from an intersection in the left turn lane waiting for a gap in the on coming traffic to complete my turn, and the light changes while I'm in the intersection, then I'll receive a ticket because I crossed the "White Line". I expect to receive a lot of mail from the city. We'll probably start seeing commercials on TV for "Red Light" expert lawyers. Anyone interested in forming a co-op for lawyer retention/representation on these cases?
January 21, 2008 at 12:00am
ponycar, if you get a ticket mailed to you, then you ran the red light. pay it.
January 21, 2008 at 12:00am
We should have known this was coming. Murfreesboro has ignored its infrastructure problem for 10 years, this is some half hearted stunt to "improve safey". They should just come out and say they need to gouge us for $100.00 everytime we run redlights so we can by more rover buses.
January 21, 2008 at 12:00am
Since no COMMISSIONED law nforcement "ossifer" physically OBSERVED you run the light...can they actually enforce this law???
January 21, 2008 at 12:00am
We have such poorly timed traffic signals, thanks to DANA Richardson and the rest of his "public servant" staff... that you are lucky if you can make it through this town in thirly minutes in NON-rush hour traffic. Get out and see the results of your in-activity DANA!!!
January 21, 2008 at 12:00am

Use the following email address:

if you would like to express you opinion to Mr. Richardson directly...but; let me WARN you. You will not receive anything but a blow off response...and this guy expresses himself to be a "public servant"...
January 21, 2008 at 12:00am
You are right. I'm no traffic expert, but find it odd that they can't sync lights on a timed basis. South Church should be sync'd for north bound traffic in the mornings so theoretically would have no (or very few) stops until you get to I24. The small town I grew up in had sync'd lights 20 years ago thru town. If you hit the first one and maintained the speed limit, you could clear all the lights.

January 21, 2008 at 12:00am
Titan fan. If I get a ticket in the mail from these silly traffic light cameras, they only have a pic of my car and license plate, not me behind the wheel.They have ruled these things unconstitutional in other states. What does that tell you about them ? These cameras are about collecting more revenue and getting deeper in our pockets. Nothing else.
January 21, 2008 at 12:00am
Last time I checked, a citizen does not have to prove anything in a court of law. One is presumed innocent until proven guilty. It is incumbent upon the City to prove that an individual has committed a crime. There are all kinds of constitutional problems with this system and a slew of legal defenses. It will most likely cost the city more to defend the sytem than to hire a red-light task force. I hate red light runners as much as the next person, but just because you are a government employee does not give you the right to violate the rights afforded by the Constitution.
January 21, 2008 at 12:00am
Who is installing and maintaining the cameras ? Are they getting a kickback of the revenue collected like they do in other cities ? In Washington DC, automated computer system (ACS) the company who installs and maintains the cameras there were getting 40%.In San Diego, they got $75 out of every $275 ticket. Also in San Diego officials reduced the length of the yellow light on traffic signals where cameras were located in order to create more violations.Clevelands mayor wanted to install traffic light cameras to " bring in money to the city". Again these cameras are about revenue.
January 21, 2008 at 12:00am
As far as the "ossifer" observing the violation, all violations are reviewed by an officer before it is sent out to the violator. The department using the system is responsible for determining if a violation has occurred or not. I have been involved with other cities that have installed these systems as well as other states. In theory, it is a good system to fill in for the lack of officers. Citizens cry about accidents and violations, but their city can not afford to put more police on the street. I was caught on one of these systems in Europe in the 80's when working at one of our embassies. The cameras there are set up to capture the image of the driver thus answering the question of who was driving. The ones here usually are not because most cities are afraid of law suits regarding privacy issues even though the US Supreme Court has ruled on this and there is no expectation of privacy when driving your car. Just like walking down the street, your picture can be taken by anyone anytime. There will always be debate on these and with cities being pressured to come up with ways to raise revenue, without raising taxes, and curb violations, red light cameras are one way to do that.
January 21, 2008 at 12:00am
January 21, 2008 at 12:00am
To quote Jim Carey in Liar Liar: "Stop breaking the law a$$h%^e!".

If people weren't constantly running the red lights we wouldn't need these cameras. A shame really when as a taxpayer I have to also pay for their inability to either CLEAR THE INTERSECTION when they see a yellow light or STOP altogether when it turns red.

No one wants to sit through the red lights any more than anyone else but when everyone is running them they only cause the other cars with the green lights to sit longer or accidents. And then everyone sits.

January 22, 2008 at 12:00am
So if your car is caught on camera running a red light, it's not fair (even though it doesn't go against your driving record or towards insurance rates)....however, if a police officer catches you, well then that's okay, because they are doing there job..right? Sheeezzz....
January 22, 2008 at 12:00am
If a police officer catches me, Then he saw me behind the wheel driving. If a camera catches me, they don't see me driving, just my vehicle.Big difference there. I could have let my friend borrow my car, my son could have been driving, etc. The ticket is my responsibility and the burden of proof that I wasn't driving is on me. That in itself takes away the presumtion of innocence until proven guilty ( 5th amendment, due process).I'm not worried about me getting a ticket. I haven't had one in over 26 years. What I'm saying is that this is an unconstitutional way to collect revenue.
January 22, 2008 at 12:00am

Stop your whining and face the fact that Murfreesboro is no longer a one-horse town. These types of technology is needed now, and believe me, "you ain't seen nothing yet". Get over it.
January 22, 2008 at 12:00am
I'm hearing alot about burden of proof, but I have yet to see in any articles that the owner is suppose to go in and prove who was or wasn't driving in the first place. Technically, it's the car, not the driver, that has incurred the fine. But I could have missed it though. The camera has it's limitations, which is acknowledged in the fact that it doesn't go against one's driving record or insurance.

In fact, I would think it would be more expensive and time consuming if in fact an officer pulled you over, vs. just going in or mailing your fine, then collect your money from whoever you let drive your car in the first place.

January 22, 2008 at 12:00am
I got a ticket from one of these cameras in Gallatin. Guess what I did? I turned right on red - slowing to a speed of 5-8 miles an hour. I failed to come to a complete stop on red. I really think that any police officer that may have witnessed that would likely have not given me a ticket for this offense. Cost me $50. I paid this fee to some company in Arizona!!
January 22, 2008 at 12:00am
Justdance, I don't have a problem with technology that it needed these days. Post cameras all over town, I have nothing to hide. What I have the problem with is how, are they going to hold me responsible for a citation if they don't have me on camera driving? Like I stated in an earlier post my options are A) pay the ticket, or B) go sign an afadavit or sworn statement that I wasn't driving, and tell them who was. Sorry, but thats NOT how due process of law is supposed to work in this country.
Further, I have just as much right to voice my opinion about it as you do. I will keep voicing my opinion on thngs that I think are wrong. If that bothers you, you can do what you told me to do on your last post. GET OVER IT.
January 22, 2008 at 12:00am
Someone recently sent me a photo taken by such camera showing a lady doing with a man she should not be doing as turns out not her husband. Wonder what all the cameras really see?
January 23, 2008 at 12:00am

Ponycar, my comment was not just directed at you. If it had been, I would have used your name. Geez....bad morning?
January 23, 2008 at 12:00am
I apologize
January 23, 2008 at 12:00am

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