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Safety Cameras Program FAQ

Q. WHAT IS THE CITY OF FIFE SAFETY CAMERA PROGRAM?

In 2007 the City recognized the value of implementing an automated traffic enforcement program in furtherance of City goals and created a safer environment for its citizens by enacting Ordinance No 1629-07.
Fife Municipal Code 10.60.020 Authorized use of automated traffic safety cameras in the following manner:

  • Law enforcement officers of the City and persons commissioned by the police chief are authorized to use automated traffic cameras and related automated systems to detect stoplight infractions at two-arterial intersections.
  • The use of automated traffic cameras is subject to the following restrictions:
    • Use of traffic safety cameras is restricted to stoplight infractions occurring at two-arterial intersections (the intersections of two arterial streets).
    • Automated traffic cameras may only take pictures of the vehicle and the vehicle license plate and only while an infraction is occurring. Pictures taken by automated traffic safety cameras may not reveal the face of the driver or of the passengers in the vehicle.
    • Notwithstanding any other provision of law, all photographs, microphotographs, or electronic images prepared under this chapter are for the exclusive use of law enforcement in the discharge of duties under this chapter and are not open to the public and may not be used in a court in a pending action or proceeding unless the action or proceeding relates to a infraction under this chapter. No photograph, microphotograph, or electronic image may be used for any purpose other than enforcement of infractions under this chapter nor retained longer than necessary to enforce this chapter.
    • The City shall clearly mark all locations where automated traffic safety cameras are in use by placing signs in locations that clearly indicate to a driver that he or she is entering a zone where traffic laws are enforced by an automated traffic safety camera.
    • For the purposes of this chapter, “automated traffic safety camera” means a device that uses a vehicle sensor installed to work in conjunction with an intersection traffic control system and a camera synchronized to automatically record one or more sequenced photographs, microphotographs or electronic images of the rear of a motor vehicle at the time the vehicle fails to stop when facing a steady red traffic control signal.

Q. WHY DID I RECEIVE A TICKET IF I WAS TAKING A “FREE” RIGHT HAND TURN?
If you were making a right hand turn at the time of the incident, the videotape shows that you failed to come to a complete stop before making the turn as required by R.C.W. 46.61.055.
Free right turns are permitted only after coming to a complete stop before the white stop bar, and if it is safe, you can then proceed if there is no sign prohibiting the turn on a red light. If you were ticketed while making a right turn, the police officer who reviewed the video and issued the ticket determined that you did not come to a complete stop before making the turn, as required by law.

Q. WILL THIS GO ON MY DRIVING RECORD OR CAN I BE ARRESTED FOR THIS TICKET?
An infraction detected through the use of an automated traffic safety camera is a non criminal offense for which you cannot go to jail. Like a parking ticket, the infraction is not part of the violator’s driving record. Therefore, a finding that the infraction was committed, either by payment or after a hearing, will not be reported to the Department of Licensing. However, failure to respond to a Notice of infraction, failure to appear for a requested hearing, or failure to pay a penalty imposed after a hearing will be reported to the Department of Licensing and may result in a hold being placed on your vehicle registration and license tabs.

Q. WHAT IF THE REGISTERED OWNER WAS NOT DRIVING THE VEHICLE AT THE TIME OF THE INFRACTION?
State law provides that the registered owner of a vehicle is presumed to have operated the vehicle at the time an infraction was detected by an automated traffic safety camera unless the registered owner overcomes the presumption by a statement, under oath, in writing to the court or in testimony before the court that the vehicle involved was, at the time, stolen, or in the care, custody, or control of some person other than the registered owner.
You may submit a sworn statement to the Fife Police Department to rebut the presumption, established in RCW 46.63.075, that you were driving the vehicle at the time of the infraction. A Declaration of Non-Responsibility is located on Coupon B of the options page with your ticket. Return the completed form to the Fife Police Department, 3737 Pacific Highway E, Fife, WA 98424. You must return the declaration by the due date shown on the front of the Notice of Infraction.

Q. WHAT IF I SOLD THE CAR OR THE CAR WAS STOLEN?
You may submit a sworn statement to that effect to the Fife Police Department using coupon B on your notice.

Q. WHAT IS THE FINE? ARE THERE ANY FEES FOR LATE PAYMENTS?
The photo red light fine in Fife is $124.00. If your payment is not received or a hearing is not set prior to the due date indicated on your notice, a $25 late fee may be added to the $124.00 fine amount.

Q. CAN I RECEIVE INFRACTIONS FOR OTHER OFFENSES AS A RESULT OF MY RED LIGHT CAMERA INFRACTION?
No. Drivers who receive photo red light infractions are cited for red light infractions only.

Q. HOW DO I PAY MY FINE?
Pay your ticket online at www.fifetix.com. You will need to know the registered owner’s name; address; birthdate; infraction number; fine amount and vehicle license plate number.

Mail Check or money order payments to:
Fife Municipal court
3737 Pacific Highway E.
Fife, WA 98424

Payments can be made in person by credit/debit card at the Fife Municipal Court kiosk Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. A convenience fee will be assessed. A payment box is located in front of the Fife Municipal Court building for after hours payments by check or money order.
Important: Your payment must be received on or before the due date shown on the front of your Notice of Infraction.


Q. CAN I VIEW THE IMAGES OR VIDEO CLIP OF THE INFRACTION?
To view the video and images online go to www.photonotice.com. The recorded video and images of this incident will be submitted as evidence in the municipal court proceeding for prosecution of this infraction. You will need the Notice number, city code: FIFEWA, and license plate number. Videos may also be viewed on the kiosk in the lobby of the Fife Municipal Court during the hours of 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM, Monday through Friday.

Q. WHAT IS THE OPTIMUM CONNECTION SPEED WHEN VIEWING MY INFRACTION ONLINE?
Anything in excess of 54 mbps. For best results if you are experiencing intermittent stop/start of the video, run the video through one time and then restart the video after it has had an opportunity to play all the way through. This will help to even out the streaming when problems surface with slower connection speeds. Generally, you will be able to watch the entire video the second time it is played without interruption.

Q. HOW CAN I REQUEST A HEARING?
To request a hearing, use the coupon on your notice of infraction. Your hearing options include:

  • A HEARING TO EXPLAIN THE CIRCUMSTANCES: By requesting a mitigation hearing, you will be deemed to have committed the infraction. You may not subpoena witnesses for this hearing. You would request a mitigation hearing if you agree you committed the infraction but believe the circumstances may be such that the court could reduce or waive the penalty.
  • A HEARING TO CONTEST THE INFRACTION: If you believe you did not commit the infraction then you should select a contested hearing. Unless you request the officer to be subpoenaed, the procedure at the hearing will be for the Judge to read the sworn statement and watch the video clip. Then you may testify or present any evidence or witnesses that you wish. If you want to have the officer or any technician present, you must advise the Clerk at the time you present your ticket or as soon thereafter as possible so the hearing can be appropriately scheduled.

Q. CAN I HAVE MY HEARING IN WRITING, BY MAIL?
You may present your circumstances to the Court by mail. Please use the Declaration for Mitigation form. You can mail it in with your hearing request. You will be notified by mail of the Court’s decision, the penalty amount, and the date that the penalty is due. Make sure to respond timely, according to the due date on your infraction.

Q. HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET A INFRACTION IN THE MAIL?
Whenever an infraction is photographed by an automatic traffic safety camera, a notice of infraction is mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle within 14 days of the infraction, or to the renter of a vehicle within 14 days of establishing the renter’s name and address.

Q. WHAT ARE RED LIGHT CAMERAS AND HOW DO THEY WORK?
Red light cameras help communities enforce traffic laws by automatically photographing vehicles whose drivers run red lights. The cameras are activated by sensors which are located at the intersection. The cameras are only activated when a vehicle is detected by the sensors after the light has turned red. The camera takes two digital photos which document the infraction. The program operates 24 hours a day seven days a week and operates in all weather conditions. The system is only activated when a vehicle runs a red light and all intersections with red light cameras are clearly marked. The Fife Police Department reviews every infraction before the infraction is issued. Infractions contain images of the infraction vehicle before it enters the intersection, while it is in the intersection, and the license plate.

Q. IS RED LIGHT RUNNING REALLY A PROBLEM?
Red light running is one of the major causes of collisions, deaths and injuries at signalized intersections in the U.S. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 20 percent of drivers do not obey intersection signals. Crashes caused by red light running result in more than 800 fatalities and 165,000 injuries each year, according to the NHTSA. The economic impact of red light running on society is estimated to be $14 billion annually. Other motorists and pedestrians account for nearly half the deaths caused by red light running crashes.

Q. IF I AM ALREADY IN THE INTERSECTION WHEN A LIGHT TURNS RED, WILL I GET A INFRACTION?
No, infractions are only issued when a vehicle enters the intersection AFTER the light has turned red. If you enter the intersection on a green or yellow light, you will not be photographed by the camera system.

Q. DOES THE CITY OF FIFE USE STANDARD YELLOW SIGNAL PHASE TIMES?
YES. The City of Fife sets its signal timing in accordance with International Municipal Signal Association (IMSA) and Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) guidelines. Fife’s signal control hardware is individually tested and approved by Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) laboratories.

Q. DID THE SYSTEM “SPEED UP” THE SIGNAL CYCLE ONCE IT SENSED I WAS THERE?
No. The red light camera system has no affect on the speed of the signal cycle.

Q. AT A RED LIGHT, DO I HAVE TO STOP TWICE: ONCE BEFORE THE STOP LINE AND ONCE AFTER?
You only need to stop once, before the stop bar and wait until the traffic light turns green and there is no crossing traffic before you move ahead. If you are turning right, you may turn after coming to a complete stop if it is safe and if there is no sign prohibiting the turn on a red light.

Q. HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO STAY STOPPED AT A RED LIGHT BEFORE TURNING RIGHT?
After coming to a complete stop you can proceed right if it is safe to do so and there is no sign prohibiting the turn on a red light.

Q. WHAT DOES THE CITY DO WITH THE MONEY RECEIVED FROM RED LIGHT INFRACTIONS?
The City of Fife has established a public safety fund to segregate monies derived from the photo red light enforcement program. Expenditures from the public safety fund may only be used for the purpose of paying for costs of the red light enforcement program, including the City’s administrative costs; provided, however, if there are surplus monies in the fund then the surplus monies may only be expended for the following purposes: (1) purchase and installation of school zone signs and lights; (2) pedestrian overpass/underpass design and construction costs; (3) sidewalk design and construction costs; (4) streetlight acquisition: operation and maintenance; (5) signalized pedestrian crosswalks; and (6) the design and construction of similar pedestrian safety oriented improvements.

Q. WILL INTERSECTIONS THAT HAVE RED LIGHT CAMERAS BE PUBLICIZED?
Yes, please see below:

  • Alexander Avenue SB and Pacific Highway
  • Alexander Avenue EB and Pacific Highway
  • 54th Avenue and 20th Street – SB
  • Valley Ave & 70th Ave WB
  • Valley Ave & 70Th Ave EB
  • Coming in 2009: 54th Ave NB & Pacific Highway WB

Q. WHERE CAN I GO TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE RULES OF THE ROAD?
The Washington State Department of Licensing publishes the Washington Driver Guide, located at: http://www.dol.wa.gov/driverslicense/guide.html.
Page 24 contains the information on red traffic lights. It reads:
A steady red traffic light means stop. You must wait until the traffic light turns green and there is no crossing traffic before you move ahead. If you are turning right, you may turn after coming to a full stop if it is safe and if there is no sign prohibiting the turn on a red light.

Q. WHERE CAN I GET ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT RED LIGHT ENFORCEMENT?
You can go to the City of Fife’s web page at www.cityoffife.org and scroll down under FREQUENTLY USED LINKS and click on Fife Municipal Code. Locate Title 10 – Vehicles and Traffic, then scroll down to 10.60 and you will be able to read about automated traffic enforcement in the City of Fife.

Q. WHERE CAN I GET ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT RED LIGHT ENFORCEMENT ONLINE?
http://auto.howstuffworks.com/red-light-camera2.htm
http://auto.howstuffworks.com/red-light-camera.htm

Q. WHERE CAN I GET INFORMATION ABOUT HOW A SIGNAL WORKS ONLINE?
http://auto.howstuffworks.com/question234.htm