Traffic cameras explained

Published 4:54 pm Friday, June 2, 2023

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Nine new automated traffic enforcement cameras will soon be installed and become operational in Suffolk to help provide safety to citizens on the road. 

Director of Public Works Robert Lewis said in a Friday interview that the nine intersections mentioned in the city’s May 31 newsletter have “just been approved” and still have to go through the construction process. 

Eight intersections for these red light enforcement cameras are North Main Street at Constance Road, Bridge Road at College Drive, Bridge Road at Harbour View Boulevard, Holland Road at Holland Business, Portsmouth Boulevard at Nansemond Parkway/East Washington Street, Godwin Boulevard at Kings Fork Road, and Pruden Boulevard at Lake Prince Drive. 

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In a collaboration between the Suffolk Police Department and Suffolk Public Works, four types of cameras have been developed for four areas — red light photo enforcement cameras, school zone speed enforcement cameras, school bus stop-arm enforcement cameras and work zone speed enforcement cameras. 

While private vendor Altumint operates the cameras, the Suffolk Police Department reviews all violations and determines if citations and fines will be issued. 

Seven of the nine will soon be installed and ready.

“Number eight will be on Holland Road where the construction is ongoing, so that cannot go live until construction is completed,” Lewis said. “We are holding a ninth location in reserve as we move forward to see if somewhere pops that just becomes an issue we really need to address.”

When asked about margin of error for situations where a driver finds he is going 30 mph in a 25 mph speed limit zone, Lewis said there is a 9 mph flexibility built in.

“So in a 25 zone, that would be up to 34. At 35, tickets are issued. At a 35 [mph zone] it would be [up to] 44,” Lewis said. “So again, there is a nine-mile grace period in that.”

Lewis said violators will receive a notice in the mail with a link to see the captured video, details on the violation and information for paying the fine.


“There is an opportunity on there for someone that wants to appeal this to court. And they certainly have a right to go to court and argue their case in front of a judge to see if they can get it dismissed, but I remind everybody these are not criminal violations, these are civil penalties with no points on your license,” Lewis said.  “They’re just strictly civil violations that will then go back toward our highway safety program to enhance highway safety.”

Ticket fees for these offenses are:

  • Red light violations, $50 fine per violation.
  • School and work zone violations, $100 fine.
  • Passing a stopped school bus, $250 fine.

Lewis also addressed the privacy concerns that come with public cameras with a simple statement. 

“If you’re obeying the law, the system is not recording you,” he said. “If you are in violation however, it does take a picture of the vehicle to include the license plate. Again, the civil penalties are associated back to the licensed owner of the vehicle, not necessarily to the individual driver who may or may not have been operating at that moment, but to the licensed owner.”

Lewis also affirmed the strict requirements of the information being protected in accordance with state law and not being used for any other purpose.

“As soon as the violation is cleared or the fine has been paid, the law is very specific about it being purged from all systems,” he explained. “It doesn’t get reported back to the DMV. It doesn’t get reported to your insurance company. It’s just a matter of we’re trying to encourage people to operate their vehicles in a safe manner to keep everybody safe.”

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