Red Light Camera Law Clarified By California Supreme Court

March 14, 2014

A local agency must provide a public announcement and a 30-day warning notice period before each installation and use of a red light camera at an intersection, the California Supreme Court held yesterday in People v. Gray.

Vehicle Code Section 21455.5(b) declares that, prior to issuing citations using an "automated traffic enforcement system," a local agency must make a public announcement of the system at least 30 days in advance.

Additionally, the statute declares that a local agency must issue only warning notices for 30 days. The issue in the Gray case was whether the word "system" in Section 21455.5(b) refers to each red light camera at an intersection or to an agency's jurisdiction-wide red light camera enforcement program.

The Supreme Court unanimously held that the Legislature meant the word "system" to mean each new camera installed at an intersection. Therefore, a local agency is required to comply with the public announcement and 30-day warning period requirements for each red light camera system it installs at an intersection.

For more information, please contact Jennifer Petrussis at

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