Rhode Island Red Light Cameras

You could be charged an $85 fine if you are charged with a red light camera violation in Rhode Island.
Written by Maxine Boyko
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
On average, a red light camera ticket in Rhode Island will cost you a fairly steep $85 fine, which is why it’s important to know how to challenge a citation. 
If you’ve ever seen a camera flash while stopped at an intersection, it likely originated from a red light camera. These cameras are placed at intersections to capture photographic (and video) evidence of traffic infractions. While they’ve been quite successful at reducing dangerous road behaviors and fatalities, the technology isn’t perfect. 
You may have been issued a camera ticket in error, in which case you’ll need to know how to challenge it. 
The fine for running a red light in Rhode Island isn’t small, and fighting a ticket is not necessarily a walk in the park. Fortunately,
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Red light cameras are legal at Rhode Island intersections to catch red-light runners. When a red light photo-enforcement camera is used, however, there must be signs informing drivers of their use at the intersection.
Rhode Island is a pretty small state, which limits the number of possible intersections where red light cameras can be placed. That being said, most of the red light cameras can be found in the Providence and Pawtucket areas.
If you want to know whether your area enforces red light cameras, contact your local government for assistance.

What should I do if I receive a red light camera ticket?

The penalty for running a red light in Rhode Island is an $85 fine. Depending on the circumstances, however, running a red light could draw additional charges—causing a fatality, for example, could result in vehicular homicide charges. 
Barring any fatalities or reckless driving charges, you have two choices when faced with a red light camera ticket: you can pay the ticket (and plead guilty by default) or plead “not guilty” and fight the ticket in court. We’ll go over both options so you can make the best decision based on your circumstances.   

How to pay a red light camera ticket 

If you choose to pay for your red light camera ticket, you can conveniently pay using Rhode Island’s
online ticket payment system
. If you’re having trouble making payment you can call the number listed on the website for assistance. Your ticket may also list other payment options, but they may not be as convenient. 
If you’re worried about your insurance taking a hit, a red light camera ticket is not considered a moving violation in Rhode Island, so your rate should remain unchanged

How to fight a red light camera ticket

If you believe the ticket was issued in error, you will have to plead “not guilty” in court. To contest a red light camera violation in Providence, hearings are by appointment only. You must call the Municipal Court to schedule the date and time to appear. 
You will need to have evidence to back up your claim that you didn’t run the red light. If you can afford it, an attorney will increase your chances of winning your case.
Key Takeaway Your two choices when receiving a red light ticket are to pay the fine or plead “not guilty” and fight the ticket in court. Both routes have benefits and drawbacks—if you’re not sure which is the better option for you, you may wish to consult a traffic lawyer.

How does a red light camera work?

A red light camera at an intersection is connected to the traffic signal and sensors that monitor traffic flow. If the sensor detects that a driver has crossed into an intersection after the light has turned red, it will send this information to a police officer to determine whether there’s been a violation. 
Usually, if the light has been red for .23 seconds and a vehicle goes through, it’s considered a red light camera violation and a ticket will be issued. Third-party contractors screen these videos for exceptions such as funeral processions and emergency vehicles before sending footage to law enforcement.
A red light camera will capture video and photographs of the vehicle’s license plate and record the date, time, and location of where the violation occurred.  
It’s hard to argue with using red light cameras to increase safer driving behaviors. One study conducted by the
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)
established that red light cameras reduced the fatal crash rate in large cities by 21%, and a reduction in the rate of all types of fatal crashes at traffic signals by 14%. 

How to find affordable car insurance in Rhode Island

While getting a red light camera ticket shouldn’t increase your insurance rates, if the circumstances lead to a more serious conviction like reckless driving, you will surely see a spike in your insurance rates. In any case, it’s important to ensure you’re protected. 
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Red light camera tickets are mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle and should include two or more photos of the violation. If you receive a ticket through other means or there is suspicious or missing information, you should contact the court—they can help you determine whether or not the ticket is real.
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