Automated enforcement

November 2014

Automated enforcement refers to the use of cameras to enforce traffic safety laws. Although many states have laws explicitly authorizing automated enforcement, not all states where cameras are in use have such laws, nor are they always necessary.

A common type of automated enforcement program is for red light violations. The use of cameras to enforce speed limits is less common, but increasing. The technology is also used to catch drivers who block intersections or fail to stop at a stop sign, pay a toll, drive past a stopped school bus or disobey a railroad crossing signal. The District of Columbia uses automated enforcement to ticket drivers who fail to yield to pedestrians. In states that have automated enforcement laws, some authorize enforcement statewide, while others permit use only in specified communities.

Many jurisdictions treat automated enforcement citations just like parking tickets in that the registered owner is liable. Similarly, just as parking tickets do not result in points or are not recorded on a driver's record, many jurisdictions do not assess points or make a record of automated enforcement citations.

  • 500 communities have red light camera programs as of November 2014.
  • 140 communities have speed camera programs as of November 2014. This includes statewide work zone programs in Illinois, Maryland and Washington.

Printable list of communities using red light and/or speed cameras

The following map and table summarize automated enforcement laws in each state and the District of Columbia.

Click on map for more detail.