Traffic cameras are becoming a common sight on Alabama’s roads today. While they are intended for law enforcement and safety, they could also provide crucial evidence in a car accident case.
Alabama maintains several traffic cameras throughout the state, including speed and red-light cameras. While it is rare for a car accident to be captured on one of these cameras, an Alabama car accident lawyer can help you with the methods to obtain it if it exists. It is more likely that a car accident will be captured on a private camera, such as a business’s security cameras or a driver’s dashcam. This type of footage can provide crucial evidence of how a car accident occurred.
If you need help obtaining traffic camera footage of your car accident, our Alabama car accident lawyers can help you request it from the camera’s owner. Contact Howe Law today at (844) 876-4357 for a free review of your case.
Can I Obtain Traffic Camera Footage for an Alabama Car Accident?
Alabama is one of several states to employ traffic cameras to deter drivers from running red lights and speeding. Traffic cameras are typically placed at busy intersections, roads known for speeding, school zones, and other locations. There are also traffic cameras meant just for records live traffic conditions. Before attempting to recover traffic footage of a car accident, though, you must first learn who owns the traffic camera at issue.
State and Local Traffic Cameras
Like other states, Alabama maintains traffic cameras throughout the state. Many traffic cameras in the state are owned and operated by the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT). ALDOT operates live cameras on highways and surface roads, which provide current traffic information and updates on weather conditions. However, traffic cameras in a city or municipality, like red-light and speed cameras, are usually maintained by the local police department or city government where the camera is in operation.
How to Obtain Traffic Camera Footage from the State
Unfortunately, recovering traffic camera footage after a car accident is incredibly rare. Even if there is footage of an accident, Alabama is one of the least convenient states for requesting footage. First, you must determine who owns the traffic camera that captured your accident. If ALDOT owns the camera in question, requests for footage will need to be directed to that agency. However, ALDOT provides no clear path to access camera footage online. Instead, car accident victims must email ALDOT requesting the footage.
If a red-light or speed camera captures your accident, a local law enforcement agency or municipality will likely maintain the traffic camera. In that case, requests can usually be made directly to the agency that owns the camera. Whether or not they will acknowledge the request is a different matter entirely. However, under Ala. Code § 36-12-40, it could be possible to obtain the footage through a public information request. Our Birmingham car accident lawyers can help if you are having trouble requesting traffic footage of your accident.
What Types of Traffic Cameras Does the State of Alabama Use?
As mentioned, Alabama permits certain types of traffic cameras by state law and local ordinance. State traffic cameras are intended to accomplish different safety goals, but each has significant limitations that will likely prevent a car accident victim from obtaining footage.
Speed cameras are usually placed on roads within cities and smaller municipalities known for chronic speeding. They can also be located around school zones, highways, and construction sites. However, it is unlikely that you will be able to obtain traffic footage from a speed camera. Speed cameras are only designed to snap a photograph when a car goes by over the speed limit in order to capture the license plate number. A speeding ticket will then be issued to the driver by mail. An accident would need to occur at the exact moment the speed camera took the photo to provide any relevancy to your case.
Red-light cameras operate in mostly the same fashion as speed cameras in Alabama. They are designed to photograph a car’s license plate at the moment it runs a red light. And like speed cameras, an accident would have to occur when the camera takes the picture to provide any useful information evidence.
ALDOT maintains live cameras all over the state for a number of purposes. These cameras are intended to provide real-time traffic information and updates on the weather conditions around the state. It is unlikely to be a valuable resource for your car accident case, though. Live cameras typically only record small snippets of footage that are not stored for long. Our Georgia car accident lawyers can help you recover your accident footage if there is a chance that it exists.
What If There’s No Traffic Camera Footage of My Alabama Car Accident
While state traffic cameras might not reliably capture footage of car accidents, there are many other types of cameras that could.
Private Security Camera Footage
The massive increase in digital technology has made private security surveillance an affordable option for business owners and private citizens alike. Businesses usually have several cameras placed around their property that could capture important angles of an accident. Many private residents also have security cameras for their front doors and to help deter package thieves. In these cases, the private owner of the camera will need to be contacted to see if they would be willing to provide the footage.
Many cars are equipped with dashboard cameras today. Dashcams can provide vital footage of an accident and could show in detail how an accident occurred and who was at fault. However, dashcam footage is owned by the individual that owns the dashcam and will need to be convinced to provide the footage of your accident. Our Atlanta car accident lawyers can help you request it from the law enforcement agency that owns it.
Our Alabama Car Accident Lawyers Can Help
If you were injured in a car accident and want to know if there is traffic footage of it, our Alabama car accident lawyers can help determine if it exists. Contact Howe Law at (844) 876-4357 for a free case review.