Example of a red light violation captured by the photo traffic enforcement system
What is the Photo Traffic Enforcement Program?
Photo Traffic Enforcement is a safety program focused on changing driver behavior at red light intersections through a comprehensive approach involving engineering, education and enforcement. The goal of photo enforcement is to increase safety for pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers. Studies have shown that photo enforcement systems have been effective in reducing the number of speeding and red light violations.
In November 2015 and January 2018, traffic studies were conducted at several intersections along Pacific Highway (99W) in Tigard. The studies considered traffic volume, violation counts and crash data. As a result, three intersections along SW Pacific Highway were identified as priorities for photo traffic enforcement:
- SW 72nd Avenue
- SW Hall Boulevard
- SW Durham Road
In early 2020, photo enforcement equipment was installed at these three intersections. Initially, the system only captured red light violations for enforcement. Speed enforcement was added on July 1, 2020 at two of these intersections: SW 72nd Avenue and Hall Boulevard.
Why has the City of Tigard implemented photo traffic enforcement?
Tigard initially explored photo traffic enforcement technology in 2010. The decision to implement photo traffic enforcement in Tigard was based upon several factors. Statistics indicated high-traffic volumes along Pacific Highway through Tigard on a daily basis. Traffic studies revealed that many drivers were not stopping for red lights and were speeding through signaled intersections. These factors significantly contribute to traffic crashes. Additionally, when polled, a majority of Tigard residents supported the use of photo traffic enforcement.
Why can’t Tigard Police enforce traffic laws at signaled intersections themselves?
Due to traffic volumes, police are not able to impact driver behavior as effectively as photo traffic enforcement. Logistically, conducting traffic stops along Pacific Highway can contribute to traffic congestion and present safety concerns for officers and drivers on a busy road. There are few safe places for an officer to pull a driver over on Pacific Highway who is driving dangerously. Technology is the viable solution in the effort to create safer intersections in Tigard.
How does Photo Red Light work?
Cameras monitor intersection approaches through advanced detection and imaging technology. A camera takes five images and a short video of the vehicle progressing through the red light. A vendor technician and a Tigard Police officer both review each violation before a citation is issued to ensure that the driver failed to stop for a red light.
How does photo speed enforcement work?
This is a safety program that utilizes the same equipment, but focuses on speeding violations. The speed of vehicles is measured as they enter the intersection using radar vehicle detection. The technology can track up to 128 objects at a time and measures vehicle speeds through intersections, identifying vehicles traveling faster than the posted speed limit.
Violations occur when the speed exceeds the established threshold. Cameras capture license plate images of violations and computers record all of the relevant data associated with the violation.
A vendor technician and a Tigard Police officer will both verify the accuracy of each speeding violation before a citation is issued.
How much is the presumptive fine for a red light violation?
A driver's failure to obey a traffic control device is a Class B traffic violation (Oregon Revised Statute 811.265) that carries a presumptive fine of $265 set by the Oregon Revised Statute 153.019.
How much is the presumptive fine for a speeding violation?
For a speeding violation identified through the photo enforcement system, presumptive fines range from $165 to $440 as set by the Oregon Revised Statutes 811.109 and 153.019:
Class A: $440 – 31mph + over speed limit
Class B: $265 – 21-30 mph over speed limit
Class C: $165 – 11-20 mph over speed limit
What is the threshold for receiving a citation for speeding through the system?
According to state law (ORS 810.437), if a city chooses to operate cameras, a citation for speeding may be issued if certain criteria are met, including the driver exceeding the speed limit or designated speed by 11 miles per hour or greater.
Who receives and pays for the Citation?
Citations are mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle at the address on file with the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles in accordance with state or local guidelines.
What if I receive a violation, but I was not the driver?
A Tigard officer will attempt to match the driver’s photo taken by the photo enforcement cameras to the Oregon DMV description and photo of the person who is the registered owner of the car. If the photo taken does not match the DMV photo and description, the incident would be dismissed. For example, if the registered owner of the car is a 50-year-old man and the photo of the driver appears to be a 20-year-old woman (daughter borrowing dad’s car, let’s say), a violation would likely not be issued.
There are times when the driver of the car resembles the registered owner enough that a violation might be issued to the owner of the car. If that happens and the owner is NOT the driver that committed the violation, the owner has the option to complete a form called “Certificate of Innocence” where they can swear or affirm that they were not the driver. There is a similar form for business owners to complete, if an employee commits a violation while driving a company car.
If you would like to see an example citation packet to review, click here and then click on the Example: “photo red light citation packet” on the right hand side of the page. The Certificate of Innocence is on page 3 of the packet.
Additionally, in the case where a citation is reissued to the owner if the Certificate of Innocence has been submitted, reviewed and rejected, the owner of the car can contact the Tigard Municipal Court directly to ask what their options are to appeal the decision.
What if I recently moved and my address has not been updated with the Oregon DMV?
In general, it takes about two weeks from the time of an incident to review, assemble and mail out violation packets. If you think you may have committed a violation, but have not yet received a packet, please wait 10-14 days and then contact Municipal Court by phone at 503-718-2478 or email at email@example.com.
Who do I contact about my court date, how to pay a ticket or a lost citation?
Contact the Tigard Municipal Court:
- Phone 503-718-2478
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Can you tell me if I triggered a (red light or speed) citation, or do I just need to wait?
Unfortunately, there is not a method for us to look up each potential violation. There are a few reasons why a camera may have flashed:
- You may have committed a violation (red light or speed).
- A vehicle near you in the intersection may have committed a violation.
- The camera(s) may have been adjusting or recalibrating and no violation was committed at all.
A technician and a Tigard Police officer both review each potential violation before a citation is issued. If your action was deemed a violation, you should receive a citation package in the mail within about two weeks.
How do we ensure the cameras are functioning properly?
The system is checked several times a day and calibration is verified.
Does Photo Red Light apply to right turns on red lights?
Yes. Where permitted, drivers can turn right at a red traffic light, whether it is a solid red light or a red arrow. However, they must first:
- Come to a complete stop
- Check for bicycles, pedestrians, and oncoming and u-turning cars before proceeding, making sure it is safe to turn
- Yield the right of way to traffic lawfully within the intersection
A citation can be issued to drivers who do not come to a complete stop first before they take a right turn at a red traffic light.
What results are expected with the use of photo traffic enforcement?
Neighboring cities using photo traffic enforcement have reported a drop in the number of red light violations and injury crashes. For example, Beaverton reported a 36% reduction in red light violations and 41% reduction in injury crashes during the first nine years of their photo traffic enforcement program. The City of Tigard expects to see similar results.
Isn’t the equipment needed to operate photo traffic enforcement expensive? How is the City of Tigard prepared to manage the cost to purchase the equipment needed?
The project vendor Conduent purchases, installs and owns the equipment. The City pays a monthly service fee in return.
How is the photo traffic enforcement revenue used?
Under Oregon law, (ORS 153.650), cities must pay back a portion of all traffic fine payments to the State of Oregon and appropriate county. Combined, this is $66 per citation (ticket). For every full red light camera fine paid, the City of Tigard receives $199; for speeding violations, a full fine paid will range from $99-$374 after remittance to the county and state. Please note, however, that there are circumstances where traffic fines are reduced and a lower amount is paid by the driver. In those cases, the City is still legally obligated to forward $66 to the State/County.
After that, the remaining revenue goes back into the program, paying for vendor contracts, equipment, maintenance, and additional staffing costs. If any revenue remains after paying for program costs, it will be dedicated to supporting the debt service on a new police facility, as per Tigard City Council. After this set-aside, any final remaining funds will be invested in traffic safety programs.
Interested in learning more?
Please see the City Council presentation dated September 18, 2018.