Scholle Law discusses Georgia intersection accidents and where you should reasonably expect to find traffic cameras in Georgia. Liability issues often arise after an accident occurs in an intersection. It is not uncommon for multiple drivers to claim they had the right-of-way. In situations like this, liability can come down to what an independent witness says. In situations where there is no witness then it may be impossible to determine who is at fault. Luckily some intersections have cameras, and that information makes or breaks Georgia intersection accidents. If you have questions about a Georgia intersection accident or other personal injury matter, please contact us for a free case evaluation.
Introduction – Cameras at Intersections
On his way to work one Friday morning, Steve (a fictional character for this article) sat and anxiously waited for the traffic light to turn green. He was late for work. Steve sits and notices the typical new construction going on and a new store or two on the roadside. Steve is a careful driver with an impatient personality. He wonders if the light will ever change to green. Staring at the never-ending light, Steve suddenly notices something. It looks like there is a camera hanging off the wiring next to the traffic light. He concludes that its for surveillance. “They are filming us,” he says to himself, thinking it is suspicious. But then on the other hand he thinks, maybe this is a good thing. “It will be caught on camera if someone hits me,” he reasons to himself. Eventually, Steve’s light turns green, and off he goes to work.
Not everyone is like Steve and thinks about potential Georgia intersection accidents, but this is an important thing to know about. But, Steve has only part of the story correct. He is right. There often are cameras and other recording devices at busy intersections and other places on Georgia’s roads. However, they are not just for the purpose of filming us or for surveillance. Besides capturing images, these devices on the roadways can collect raw traffic data and catch violators who disobey traffic rules (such as those that apply when using the Georgia Express Lane or failing to stop at a red light). Again many such devices, look like cameras when they are not. Let’s look into this matter a little deeper, Georgia intersection accidents are not the only example of Georgia’s roads being electronically monitored.
Understanding Peach Pass Monitoring and Surveillance
Attention Peach Pass Users: Atlanta is one of the largest cities in the United States. As such, traffic issues involving congestion abound. To avoid the struggle of driving slowly through congested traffic, one may purchase a Peach Pass sticker and become authorized to use the Georgia Express Lane. Some call it the fast lane. In short, a Peach Pass sticker is a Radio Frequency Identification Device (RFID for short) and is placed inside the windshield of your vehicle upon purchase. Monitoring devices around the Georgia Express Lane discernably know when a Peach Pass user is driving in the Georgia Express Lane. Likewise, the monitoring devices can also know when a non-Peach Pass user is abusing the fast lane without permission.
The monitoring devices that check Peach Pass users are not cameras and do not “videotape” traffic. Instead, the RFID transponder in the form of a sticker that is inside the driver’s windshields are electronically detected and simply deduct money from the user’s account upon the use of the fast lane. If an accident happens near an RFID monitoring device, there is no video footage to retrieve.
Understanding Red Light Cameras
A red light camera is a camera that is used by law enforcement to capture instances of vehicles that enter an intersection despite the traffic control signal signifying “stop.” Here is how it works. Before the intersection, there is a special device called an induction loop. The induction loop is underground. Cars passing over the induction loop trigger a change in the magnetic field. If a vehicle enters an intersection despite the traffic control signal signifying “stop,” the induction loop is activated, which in turn triggers the cameras at the intersection to take a picture of their license plate. The image then becomes evidence used by local law enforcement that the car in question ran the light. Again, we see that there is no video filming per se. At best, there is possibly one or two single photos that might show that a vehicle disregarded a light. That being said, there is still no video footage to be had. There are some sites that keep a map of where these intersections exist. Here is a link.
Options for Obtaining Footage of Your Accident!
Get Your Own Video Surveillance. One of the best ways to combat conflicting stories of what happened in an accident is to have your own camera installed on your vehicle. For a relatively low price, you can buy your own camera that records the traffic in front of you and behind you non-stop. Most of these cameras operate on a loop and automatically delete the video after a reasonable amount of time has passed. Keep in mind that insurance adjusters are required to go through a mind-numbing checklist to ensure what happened in an accident. Video footage will often kill all irrelevant questions that an adjuster may have in a matter of minutes. A camera for your car is easy to find online and easy to install. Admittedly, this is a proactive move. This does not help you if you have already had your accident. Therefore, lets look at some other options.
Get Someone Else’s Video Surveillance. It is possible that a nearby business or private parking lot had a camera running that may have recorded your accident. Banks and gas stations with no outside video cameras are almost unheard of. Even though these cameras are not trying to record traffic, they often do so by accident. When police perform a full investigation of a serious car crash, they typically will canvas the area for any cameras that may have incidentally captured any part of the incident. In most cases, the victim of an accident will have to do the additional detective work to see if any local cameras may have caught footage of your accident. Unfortunately, business owners will not freely release their camera footage to you nor do they have to without being legally compelled to. Regardless, you should still ask nicely on the off chance that a sympathetic employee might share with you what they have. If they go as far as showing you the video footage of the accident, capture it on your cell phone as they show you. You may not have another chance to see it.
Get Secondary Video Surveillance. You could make an “open records request” from the particular law enforcement department that responded to your accident. Most law enforcement records departments are accessible online, and they often provide instructions for making an open records request or other method for obtaining information. Make sure you follow all instructions to place your order and be specific to ask for copies of all bodycam footage and patrol car footage for your accident. It is best to provide a copy of the police report with your request to keep down any confusion over what case you are speaking of. Usually, the video footage will be sent to you in a few weeks by email notification and download. Once you have the footage, you should carefully review each video and listen intently for things not recorded in the accident report. Listen to all conversations between officers. Listen to all conversations when police interview witnesses. Listen closely as the police interview the other driver. There can be invaluable information heard from an officer’s bodycam video that may not ever make it to an accident report.
Get Audio Evidence from 911. When you make an “open records request,” you can find out if you must order the accident-related 911 calls from another department or will they come with your original open records request. In some instances, the audio footage from 911 is more valuable than the video footage. We recall an accident claim in which the accident report itself was very supportive of the victim. However, the reporting officer did not give a citation to the at-fault driver for speeding. It was later discovered that the at-fault driver on Interstate 85 was engaged in a road rage incident just before crashing. The person who called in the accident to 911 happened to be an off-duty police officer. 911 dispatch recorded him stating that he just witnessed a car going over 100 mph, and it just hit another vehicle. Because no on-duty police officer caught anyone speeding, it never became part of the official accident report. But not for the audio recording from 911, this part of the victim’s story may have never been realized. It became an essential part of the victim’s personal injury claim.
Call Our Georgia Intersection Accident Attorneys
The preceding info is information and not a all encompassing guide on how to investigate your accident. While you can do it on your own, nothing is a substitution for having an experienced attorney that handles Georgia intersection accidents as well as all other types of Georgia motor vehicle accident cases. If you have been injured in an accident and frustrated by the complexities of investigating your accident or by the general lack of care from your or the at-fault driver’s insurance company, call the law offices of Scholle Law. We are here to help.
Scholle Law is an Atlanta, Georgia personal injury law firm that handles car, truck, motorcycle and work vehicle accidents. If you were in an accident and hurt because some other person ran a light or did something else negligent, then we are here to fight for your rights. Our office offers free consultations and case evaluations. We speak to injury victims every day and we take a lot of pride in representing Georgia’s injured citizens. Call or contact us today. We look forward to hearing from you.
To set up a meeting, call us today at (678) 921-3320 or contact us online.