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Posted on: January 11, 2019

Flash! What Just Happened?

One of the most common questions we get about photo red light or photo speed enforcement is, “I got flashed but I wasn’t violating the law. What happened and will I get a ticket?”

There are a few scenarios that may have happened if a driver gets flashed but no violation has occurred. 

  • Camera testing.  Photo enforcement use camera flashes to capture photographs of violations.  Each speed/red light enforcement system, to include the photo radar vans, need to perform self-tests to ensure the systems are working properly.  During these self-tests, the systems are taking speed and red light readings along with coordinating the flashes with the readings.  During the short testing phases, the systems will flash drivers even if they are not committing a violation.  None of these activations end up in citations because they are part of the self-test procedures.
  • It wasn’t you.  Our photo enforcement cameras can track more than one object at a time.  It may be another driver in the intersection that caused the activation while you were near them.  For instance, our red light camera intersections can track up to 128 different moving objects at a time.  If it wasn’t you then you won’t receive a citation.
  • Something just went wrong.  Just as humans make mistakes, so do machines sometimes.  If an activation has occurred in error, there is a built in quality control in our process.  Each activation is reviewed by an officer to ensure a violation has actually occurred.  If the officer reviews an activation and no violation has occurred then a citation is never issued.


Finally, if you ever have a question about photo red light, speed enforcement vans, or intersection speed enforcement, please contact us.  We would be happy to answer questions.  For more information you can also visit https://beavertonpolice.org/204/Photo-Enforcement

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