Red Light Camera Program

About the program

Quick links

View/pay a citation

NOTE: There is a $2.00 convenience fee for online Red Light Camera citation payments. The fee is automatically added during the online transaction.

Program background

In the early 1990s, Howard County Police recognized that there was a problem in our community. Our citizens were being injured and sometimes killed in intersection crashes. The department decided to utilize a problem-oriented policing approach to address the issue. In partnership with traffic engineers and community members, the Howard County Police and Traffic Engineering departments analyzed crashes and the environment in which they occurred.

Ultimately, Howard County decided to take the step of enforcing red light violations by using automated camera systems. In 1998, the county established a unique public-private partnership to create a successful automated enforcement strategy, resulting in the first red light safety program in Maryland.

Howard County Police reached out to other police jurisdictions and currently operate the Regional Automated Enforcement Center (RAEC), where there are currently 10 police agencies spanning five Maryland counties working together to adhere to the highest standards, integrity and quality control established by Howard County.



Where are red light cameras located in Howard County?

Brokenland Parkway at Cradlerock Way
Brokenland Parkway at Snowden River Parkway
Brokenland Parkway at Stevens Forrest Road
Cedar Lane at Freetown Road
Cedar Lane at Hickory Ridge Road
Dobbin Road at Dobbin Center Way
Governor Warfield Parkway at Windstream Drive
Little Patuxent Parkway at Banneker Road
Little Patuxent Parkway at Brokenland Parkway
Little Patuxent Parkway at Columbia Road
Little Patuxent Parkway at Columbia Road (left turn lane)
Little Patuxent Parkway at Governor Warfield Parkway
Little Patuxent Parkway at Harpers Farm Road
Snowden River Parkway at Berger Road
Snowden River Parkway at McGaw Road
Snowden River Parkway at Oakland Mills Road
Snowden River Parkway at Dried Earth Boulevard
U.S. 1 at Corridor Road/Howard Street
U.S. 40 at Ridge Road
U.S. 40 at St. Johns Lane
NOTE: Locations subject to change

How many red light cameras are currently in operation in Howard County?
As of mid-2016, there are 27 red light safety camera sites enforcing 27 intersection approaches in Howard County. In sum, the county has installed 50 sites since the program's inception in 1998. Many of the sites were subsequently de-activated when red light running and collisions decreased sufficiently at the locations.

How do red light cameras work? 
Howard County Police use at least two different technologies in the Red Light Camera Program. At some intersections, above-ground LIDAR/laser technology monitors an approaching vehicle's position and speed as it nears the white stop line at an intersection. At other locations, radar technology is used to perform the same function. If either the laser or radar technology recognizes an approaching vehicle is exceeding a preset threshold speed prior to the intersection, the camera system initiates a photograph sequence. The camera first captures a wide-angle photograph of the vehicle before it enters the intersection with the traffic signal clearly illuminated red. Shortly thereafter, the camera captures another photograph of the vehicle in the intersection with the traffic signal still illuminated red. Depending on the site's technology, a photograph of the license plate may be cropped from one of the two wide-angle images, or a secondary narrow-angle camera may capture a dedicated license plate photograph. While some camera sites utilize a flash, others may be flashless. In 2009, Howard County upgraded all its red light safety cameras to include full motion video evidence to accompany the still-photographs. A multi-step review process occurs prior to issuing each and every citation and it is ultimately trained Howard County police civilians who make the final determination if the criterion to issue a citation was met.

How often are camera locations assessed? 
Dedicated Red Light Camera Program personnel are constantly assessing all active camera locations, and reviewing the quantity of red light running incidents and citations issued. Moreover, the Howard County Police and Traffic Engineering departments regularly consider what intersections may warrant the introduction of red light safety cameras based on crash data. Before a camera is installed, traffic engineers have attempted to eliminate red light running collisions by altering signal timing or adjusting traffic flow in another manner. Adding a camera is the final solution after other engineering measures have been attempted.

What does a red light camera look like? 
The camera and laser devices are contained in white metal boxes mounted on metal poles. Some intersections feature signs indicating that red light camera enforcement is in use, however, the signs do not appear at every site. Maryland law does not require the county to mark intersections where red light cameras are operated with signs.

Do red light cameras reduce collisions and red light running at intersections where they are used? 
A 2008 study (the most recent available) by the county Traffic Engineering department showed an overall collision reduction of 29 percent at enforced approaches. Right-angle collisions have been reduced by 55 percent. The same study also showed an overall reduction of rear-end collisions at sites where the cameras are used. A 2015 Howard County analysis reveals that red light running at enforced sites has reduced by 59  percent when comparing the sites' initial month of activation to their 2015 monthly averages. The same analysis shows that when comparing each camera sites' first full calendar year of recorded red light running to 2015, there is an overall 31 percent reduction.

Can the cameras be used to enforce other violations, such as not wearing a seat belt, texting while driving or speeding? 
No. Maryland law prohibits the use of red light cameras for any other purpose other than enforcing red light camera violations.

If I come to a stop after the white line, will I be issued a citation? 
If a vehicle crosses completely over the white stop line while facing a red signal, a violation has occurred and a citation may be issued. However, if the driver only partially crosses the stop line before coming to a stop, Howard County Police will not issue a citation.

If I am in the intersection when the light turns red, will I be issued a citation? 
No. If your vehicle has crossed the white stop line and entered the intersection while the light is amber (yellow) and then the light turns red while the vehicle is still in the intersection, a citation will not be issued.

Will I be issued a citation for not coming to a stop before making a right turn on red? 
Howard County red light cameras do not monitor right turn lanes. However, if a police officer observes a vehicle failing to make a complete stop at a red light before making a right turn, the officer may issue a traffic citation.

Where is the citation sent? How long after a violation will the ticket be sent? 
The citation is sent to the address of the vehicle’s registered owner on record with the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA.) Citations are required by law to be mailed within 14 days of the violation. Howard County usually processes and mails citations within three to eight days after a violation occurred.

What information will be displayed on the citation? 
The citation will include three pictures showing the vehicle committing the violation and the vehicle’s license plate number. It will include the exact date, time and location of the violation, a violation number, the amount due, the due date and instructions for paying the fine or requesting a court date. The vehicle’s speed, the road’s speed limit, the length of the amber (yellow) light and how long the light was red when the photographs were captured are all included. It also includes a signature of the certified Howard County police civilian employee who reviewed the images and determined if the criteria to issue a citation were met. Additionally, red light citations include a link to a web site where you can view the photographs, full motion video and pay the fine.

Who is responsible to pay the ticket: the owner of the vehicle or the person who was driving when the citation was issued? 
Similar to a parking ticket, the registered owner of the vehicle is the responsible party in Maryland, regardless of who was driving the vehicle at the time the citation was issued.

Can I dispute the citation? 
If you receive a citation, you have the option to pay the fine or request a court hearing. If you wish to schedule a hearing, you are required by law to mail a request to the police department's Automated Enforcement Division and it must be received five days prior to the payment's due date. You will be mailed a notice of the court hearing date, time and location. If you appear in court, the maximum amount you may be charged is a $100 fine and $22.50 in court costs. 

What if I fail to pay or request a hearing in a timely manner?
Failure to pay the fine or request a hearing in a timely fashion may result in a flagging of the vehicle registration and therefore MVA's refusal to renew its registration. If this happens, the vehicle’s registered owner is then liable for an administrative motor vehicle flagging fee with the MVA in addition to the original fine to renew their vehicle registration.

What is the fine for a Howard County red light citation? Are there late fees?
The fine is $75. There are no added late fees. The addition of an MVA administrative flagging fee applies if the citation goes unpaid and the vehicle registration is flagged as a result. 

Pay online: View/pay the citation online.  Major credit cards are accepted. There is an added $2 convenience fee to use the online payment service.

Mail a check: You may also mail a check for the amount due, along with the payment stub attached to the citation, to   Howard County Red Light, PO Box 37236, Baltimore, MD 21297-3236. Checks should be made payable to the Howard County Director of Finance.

In person: You may make payments in person  at the Howard County Office of Finance, in the George Howard Building, 3430 Courthouse Drive, Ellicott City, MD 21043. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Will this violation go on my driving record? Are there points assessed? Will it affect my insurance rates? 
Red light camera citations are civil citations, not moving violations, similar to parking tickets. They are not reflected on driving records. No points are assessed. Insurance companies are not allowed to access red light camera violation information or raise insurance rates as a result of them.

How can I contact the Howard County Red Light Camera Program?
The office telephone number is 410-313-3216, and the fax number is 410-313-7533.