Arkansans confused over red-light cameras vs. traffic cameras

Do you know the difference between a red-light camera and a traffic camera? How is each used in the state of Arkansas? 11 Listens got the answer.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - There are cameras mounted at intersections across the state, but there is some confusion between a red-light camera and a traffic camera.

11 Listens got answers after receiving questions concerning Arkansas's traffic camera laws. A petition to install traffic cameras in downtown Little Rock intersections emerged after a pedestrian was killed in an accident earlier this month.

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Mayor Mark Stodola responded with a statement, and in it, he mentioned that traffic cameras are illegal in Arkansas. He was referring to red light cameras, however, confusion over camera laws prompted questions from people in nearby towns asking, "How is there one here in my town?" And another stated that there's one at every intersection in Conway.

We asked Conway City attorney, Chuck Clawson how their cameras are utilized.

“We have over 200 intersections that are monitored by traffic cameras none of those record anything. However, they're only there to work on the timing of the cycle of the lights,” he said.

Each state has its own traffic laws, as for the statute here in Arkansas, he said, “Traffic cameras are legal in the state of Arkansas, however, they cannot be used as an exclusive means to issue a citation." That type of enforcement would be used with red light cameras, which are pointed towards an intersection to monitor those who run red lights. Traffic cameras in Arkansas are simply used to regulate traffic congestion. Under state law, both speed enforcement and red-light cameras are prohibited, but there are exceptions to the law in school zones and railroad crossings.

“The exception requires that the police officer be present at the time and the violator is issued the citation at the time of the offense,” said Clawson. So, again traffic cameras are legal if they're being used for traffic detection.

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