WUSA9 video raises questions about red light camera

UPDATE: BETHESDA, Md. (WUSA9) -- Montgomery County police say a red light camera in Bethesda that takes pictures all night long even though the light at the intersection is set to flash yellow is not a hazard to motorists, and no tickets have been wrongly issued.

WUSA9 questioned the red light camera at the intersection of Goldsboro Road and River Road after photojournalist James Hash documented the camera being set off by nearly every vehicle passing through, even though the light at the intersection only flashed yellow and never turned red.

Some motorists in the video appear to be distracted by the flash of the strobes, and some appeared to come to a stop at the intersection even though a full stop is not required.

Police said the camera has been behaving the same way since it was installed in 2012. A spokesman characterized the situation as a "glitch" that managers are well aware of.

"No tickets have been issued," said Officer Janelle Smith who explained that human review and oversight of images downloaded from the camera prevents tickets from being wrongly issued due to the fault. Instead, the images are simply deleted.

Smith said management of the glitch is vivid proof that oversight of the system works and keeps red light cameras honest.

Smith said there is no record of accidents at the intersection due to distraction from the flashing strobes.

"At this point we have no evidence that would lead us to believe there is a distraction from this red light camera," Smith said.

Montgomery County operates more than 30 red light cameras. If, after human review, a ticket is issued, the fine is $75.

Earlier UPDATE: Montgomery County Police are looking into whether or not the camera was malfunctioning. Police say that if it had been malfunctioning the camera would have generated an automatic report to alert police. Police added that because all tickets are reviewed by an officer before they are issued that they expect that any malfunction situation would be noticed and no ticket would be issued.

If you believe you have received a ticket from a malfunctioning camera, then you can contact police with the information provided on the ticket.


BETHESDA, Md. (WUSA9) -- Video shot early Friday appears to show a red light camera at the intersection of River and Goldsboro roads in Montgomery County malfunctioning.

The light at the intersection was set to flashing yellow early Friday morning. However, the camera watching the intersection appeared to be firing off photos at every vehicle that passed, regardless of whether it stopped, proceeded with caution, or simply drove through.

WUSA9 is investigating.

We welcome comments, observations or other information that might be helpful in reporting on the situation at this intersection.‚Äč Please email your comments to sbroom@wusa9.com.


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