| Added On February 5, 2010
Most traffic lights in big cities run on designated timers that allow cars to go through the light in one direction, while the cars in another parallel direction wait for the signal. In suburbs or rural areas, that typically see less traffic, the traffic lights may be equipped with sensors or detectors to determine if a car is waiting at the light. These sensors can tell when a car has driven up to an intersection, when several cars are waiting their turn to go, or if cars have entered the turn lane and need the arrow light to be activated. Often, where these sensors have been installed, if drivers do not pull up close enough to the intersection to trip the sensor, the light at off-peak times will not change. The driver may have to sit through several minutes, to upwards of a quarter hour for the light to change on its own, if the car hasn’t pulled up far enough to trigger the sensor to change the light.
Some of this behind the scenes technology is very high tech. For instance, there might be an inductive loop added at the stop light to assist with the timing of the lights. An inductive loop is a coil of wire that is embedded into the surface of the road, to determine if a car is waiting at a light. It will trip the traffic light sensor and the lights will change to allow that vehicle to pass through the intersection.
Other technology includes red-light cameras. These are automatic cameras that are mounted on traffic lights to catch someone running the red light or even speeding. The cameras are set to photograph the traffic violation and any speeding that might occur at the intersection. The footage from the cameras is reviewed by the authorities, and they are able to send a citation, traffic ticket and also the photograph of the offender in action to the person who has violated the law.
Most of these cameras are mounted high atop poles at each corner of an intersection. They are often placed so high up in the air, that most drivers never know that they are there. They are monitored from another location, and the law enforcement agency that is responsible for maintaining them will check that they are working at all times, every day of the week. The cameras are usually trained to look towards the middle of the intersection, where many accidents might happen. The cameras are either typical film cameras or the more high tech, digital cameras are often utilized.
At the time of an accident, the police will solicit a response from all parties involved in the loss. What the parties may not know is that the entire accident was also caught on tape, in the form of a still picture or a digital moving picture of the entire crash. These “smart” traffic lights will work to make it harder for people to get the story “wrong” at the scene of an accident. They are just one of the many tools used today by law enforcement officials to get it right when determining ultimate fault, as between the drivers, at the scene of an accident.
If you have been in an accident at an intersection and there are discrepancies as to the fault of the parties, or in a similar accident, you will want to talk to an attorney who is an expert in these types of cases. You can call us at the law firm of Ledger & Associates at 1-800-300-0001 or email us at www.ledgerlaw.com, we want to hear your side of the story.