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Red-Light Cameras Not Permitted Under Oklahoma Law

Posted on January 20, 2017

Drivers who run red lights cause thousands of injuries every year. In 2014, more than 125,000 people were injured in accidents involving red-light runners. In fact, a study concluded that the most common type of car accident involves drivers who run red lights or stop signs.

Here is a local example. In October, a woman driving a black car ran a red light and collided into a truck, rupturing the truck’s fuel tank and spilling diesel fuel in the intersection. She says her neck was injured in the crash.

Could that accident have been prevented if Tulsa installed cameras to catch red-light runners and deter future violators?

Red-Light Cameras Prevent Violations

Studies conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety have shown that fewer drivers run red lights in areas where traffic cameras are installed. The studies have also documented a spillover effect, meaning that drivers are also less likely to run red lights in intersections that don’t have cameras but are near intersections that do.

A 2016 IIHS study specifically found that red-light cameras are an effective means of reducing car accidents.

Red-Light Cameras Not Permitted Under Oklahoma Law

Tulsa’s city prosecutor, Bob Garner, told city councilors in 2015 that Oklahoma law does not permit red-light cameras. He said that running a red light is a criminal misdemeanor that must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. The city council had solicited legal opinion on whether Tulsa could use the cameras to enforce traffic laws.

Some states use cameras to catch red-light runners, who then receive a ticket in the mail. But in Oklahoma, Garner said, a ticket cannot be issued unless a police officer observes the violation. So even if red-light cameras were installed, an officer would have to review the footage and then prepare a probable cause affidavit. The affidavit would be given to a judge, who would then issue a warrant for the red-light runner’s arrest.

Since there are no cameras to deter drivers from running red lights in Tulsa, drivers should exercise caution when approaching an intersection. Always look both ways, even when you have the green light. But if you are injured by a driver who runs a red light, you can bring a personal injury lawsuit to recoup any damages that you suffered.

Reach Out to Our Office

If you or a loved one is injured by a driver who runs a red light, contact the law office of Charles Bryan Alred, P.C., today. Our skilled attorneys are prepared to work aggressively on your behalf to ensure you recover compensation for your injuries.