Photo Red: The Intersection Safety Program

What is Photo Red?

Photo Red is a traffic safety program that places red-light cameras at ten City of Spokane intersections in order to reduce the number of red-light violations. The objective of the program is to change drivers' behavior, making the community safer as more drivers obey traffic signals and stop at red lights.

Spokane's Intersection Safety statistics (in the PowerPoint presentation below) demonstrate how the program is improving the safety of Spokane intersections. Funds from red light violator citations go towards supporting neighborhood traffic calming and safety improvement projects.

Presentations and Videos

What is a red light violation?

Simply put, a red light violation is any time you have a steady or flashing red signal, whether round or arrow, and you fail to COMPLETELY stop the movement of your vehicle prior to crossing the stop line. All intersections that are monitored by this program have thick painted white stop lines prior to the marked crosswalks. For the complete law, please see the Revised Code of Washington 46.61.050

How will this affect my driving record?

The infraction is issued against the car's registered owner, like a parking ticket, so your insurance rates and driver's license WILL NOT be affected. However, if you fail to pay the fines and/or respond to the court in the time allowed, the Department of Licensing can hold your vehicle tabs until the fine and all related late fees are paid.

The camera flashed...Will I get a ticket?

Not necessarily...There are two images required to enforce a red light citation. The first image is as the vehicle comes to the stop line at an intersection. The second is as the vehicle goes through the intersection. If your vehicle approaches the intersection at a certain speed, the camera will take the first picture in anticipation that you'll run the red light. However, if you come to a COMPLETE stop, you will not receive a citation. The data collection is the automated part of the system. After the data is collected, several different people view the information to determine whether or not it is a good violation prior to it getting sent to the police department for final approval. The camera does not make the decision whether or not to cite a vehicle, an actual officer does.

How do the red light cameras work?

The camera system used by American Traffic Solutions has three basic components: a high resolution camera for taking still color photos, a video camera that provides a broader view of the offending vehicle and any other vehicles, pedestrians, or cyclists in the intersection, and a vehicle sensing device that activates the still cameras and captures video of approaching vehicles that the system “predicts” will violate a red signal.

Photographic and video images of violation events are sent electronically from the traffic safety camera system to the ATS data center where they are reviewed against criteria established by the Spokane Police Department. Events that clearly are not violations are rejected at the data center. Trained officers in the SPD Traffic Section, who authorize issuance of citations for those deemed in violation, review events that appear to meet SPD criteria. View illustrated version of this explanation (PDF 891 KB).

Why do we have red light cameras in Spokane?

Automated safety systems have been shown to reduce red-light violations and intersection crashes. Numerous studies throughout the U.S. and worldwide, as well as the experience of many other cities, indicate significant decreases in red-light running violations and collisions after cameras were installed. Often times, a spillover effect results from automated enforcement: other intersections not monitored by automated enforcement also see a decrease in violations and accidents because of the presence of enforcement in other areas of the community.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety: “Cameras have been shown to substantially reduce red light violations. Institute evaluations in Fairfax, Virginia, and Oxnard, California, showed that camera enforcement reduced red light running violations by about 40 percent. In addition to reducing red light running at camera-equipped sites, violation reductions in both communities carried over to signalized intersections not equipped with red light cameras, indicating community-wide changes in driver behavior. An Institute evaluation of red light cameras in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, found that after red light violations were reduced by 36 percent following increased yellow signal timing, the addition of red light cameras further reduced red light violations by 96 percent.”

In a study completed by AAA, crashes cost American drivers more than $160 billion per year. In Spokane specifically, research showed 4,681 injuries in 2007 with a cost of $429 million to the community, averaging $975 per person in Spokane County.

Where are the cameras in Spokane?

Right now, we have fifteen cameras monitoring ten intersections. One camera can cover up to four lanes of travel in one direction.

Our current approaches are as follows:

  • North and southbound Division St. at Francis Ave.
  • Northbound Hamilton St. at Mission Ave.
  • Southbound Browne St. at Sprague Ave.
  • Northbound Freya St. at Third Ave.
  • West and southbound Second Ave. at Thor St.
  • Eastbound Wellesley Ave. at Ash St.
  • Northbound Division St. at Sprague Ave.
  • Southbound Maple St. at 2nd Ave.
  • Westbound 2nd Ave. at Walnut St.
  • Southbound Browne St. at 3rd Ave.

How can I view the video of the violation?

Log on to www.ViolationInfo.com. To log on to the site you must enter the Notice Number and the PIN Number located at the top right of your Notice of Violation.

You may also access the website at a kiosk in the Public Safety Building, 1100 W. Mallon Ave., Spokane, WA 99260. For further questions or information, you can email inquiries to photored@spokanepolice.org or call 509.625.4181.

What are my options?

There are three options.

  1. Pay the fine:
    • Pay Online: Logon to www.ViolationInfo.com by entering your Notice number and Pin number shown in the red box on the front right of your notice. Click the Pay button. There is a convenience fee of $4 that will be assessed at the time of payment.
    • Pay by mail - Mail your check or money order to:
      City of Spokane
      Photo Enforcement Program
      P.O. Box 742503
      Cincinnati, OH 45274-2503
    • Pay by Credit Card Call toll free 1-866-790-4111 between the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. CST. There is a convenience fee of $4 that will be assessed at the time of payment.
  2. Ask for a Hearing:

    You must request an adjudicative hearing in writing before the due date listed on the top and bottom right of your Notice of Violation. Remove the coupon located at the bottom of the Notice of Violation, sign the back and mail it in the enclosed envelope. You can chose to either contest or mitigate and both of these can be done by mail or in person. Mitigation means that you admit to the infraction but want to explain the circumstances and request a reduced fine. Contesting the citation means you contest the fact the violation occurred.

    Hearings are held on Thursdays starting at 1:30pm. Hearings last from 10 to 15 minutes and will be scheduled accordingly.

  3. Submit an Affidavit stating you were not driving the car:

    You may only submit an Affidavit of Non-liability if at the time of the violation one of the following was true:

    • Vehicle was stolen (must provide police report)
    • Vehicle was sold (must provide valid proof of sale)
    • Vehicle was in the care, custody, and control of some person other than the registered owner
    • Your company is in the business of leasing or renting vehicles and the vehicle was leased or rented at the time of the violation (must provide lease or rental agreement)

    You may obtain an Affidavit of Non-liability by visiting www.ViolationInfo.com. This affidavit must be filled out accurately and in its entirety, it must be notarized, and all submitted paperwork must be postmarked by the due date for the original notice. Mail the Declaration and pertinent information to: City of Spokane, Violation Processing, PO Box 12129, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2129.

How do I contact someone with other questions?

You can call 509.625.4181 or email inquiries to photored@spokanepolice.org


Contact Police

  • Crime Check: 509.456.2233
  • Tipline: 509.242.TIPS (8477)
  • My Spokane: 311, or for outside city limits, 509.755.CITY (2489)

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