Red Light Camera Program - Frequently Asked Questions

In an ongoing effort to reduce motor vehicle accidents and related injuries, the City of Rochester has installed Red Light Cameras at intersections with frequent red light violations and accidents. Across the country, red light cameras have helped modify driving behavior, resulting in drivers being more cautious and attentive.

Why are they needed? 

Red light violations – particularly those that occur more than 2 seconds after the light changes – account for numerous injury accidents every year. Running aRed-Light-Camera red light is the leading cause of urban crashes and often causes injury and death.

Are they effective? 

Automated red light enforcement has proven effective in reducing the number of accidents, resulting in safer roads for drivers and pedestrians. It is also safer and more consistent than traditional enforcement methods carried out by police. Enforcing traffic laws in urban areas proves difficult because it typically requires police to follow the vehicle through a red signal in order to cite the driver. Traffic volume and safety considerations mean that police can only stop a fraction of the violators, putting motorists and pedestrians at risk.

How do the cameras work? 

The camera system is connected to a traffic signal and uses a video tracking camera mounted on the opposite side of the traffic signal. The system continuously monitors traffic flow and the signal.  When the signal turns red, the camera system activates. A video is taken of any vehicle that crosses the stop bar at a specified time after the signal turns red.

Will a vehicle already in the intersection get ticketed? 

No. In order for the citation to be valid, a vehicle must be behind a clearly marked stop line and the signal must be red. If the vehicle proceeds into the intersection after the signal turns red, pictures are then taken.

What about making a turn on red? 

Motorists should pay attention to signs posted at intersections indicating restrictions on red light right turns. Violators may receive a citation if they violate restrictions in place.

Who gets the citation? 

The citation is issued to the vehicle’s registered owner, regardless of who was actually driving at the time of the violation. Automated enforcement citations are treated just like parking tickets in that the registered owner or lessee is liable.

Are photos reviewed before the motorist is ticketed? 

Yes. Before a citation is issued, each picture is reviewed by trained officials.  This ensures that the vehicle is in violation and vehicle information is also verified.

How do I pay the red light violation penalty? 

There are three ways to pay:

  1. Go to the City’s website: (there is an additional $1.25 processing fee for this service)
  2. Mail your payment (no cash) to the Parking and Municipal Code Violations Bureau, 42 South Avenue, Rochester, NY 14604
  3. Come to the Parking and Municipal Code Violations Bureau, 42 South Ave. (there is limited metered parking and parking for a fee at the South Avenue garage)

For all methods of payment, make sure to have your ticket number or license plate number readily available.
How long do I have to pay?

The fine is due within 30 days. After that, there is a $25 late fee. Payments not received after 90 days may be subject to judgment and referral to a collections agency. There is an additional $20 fee for returned checks.

Why did I receive a Judgment Notice? 

Three notices are sent to the owners of cars that have violated the red light law before a judgment is filed. The notices have been sent to the address on file with the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, which houses the official database for vehicle ownership. The first was a notice of violation, the second was a notice that the payment had not been received within 30 days and a late fee would be added, and the final notice was a warning that without payment, a judgment and referral to a collections agent may follow.

What if I am not guilty of the violation?

If you believe the violation has been issued in error, you may request a hearing within 30 days of receiving the ticket. You may do this by coming to the Parking and Municipal Code Violations Bureau at 42 South Ave., writing a letter requesting a hearing, or e-mailing us at Provide any evidence that supports your claim, such as:

  • Vehicle ownership records
  • Change of address records
  • Police reports of car theft and recovery

Please remember to reference your ticket number or license plate number. If you cannot be present for the hearing due to distance or work obligations, you may request that the hearing be held without you. A notice will be sent to you informing you of the hearing’s outcome.

A hearing examiner will consider your case and make a decision on the validity of the violation.
Video of each violation may be viewed online for 120 days by visiting and will be considered by the hearing examiner.

How are violations involving City vehicles handled? 

View reports on the diposition of cases involving City-owned vehicles:

For complete details about the Red Light Camera Program, visit the City's Red Light Camera Traffic Safety Program page.