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Red Light Photo Enforcement

Chief ManheimerThe City of San Mateo introduced the Red Light Photo Enforcement program in 2005 to address traffic safety concerns targeting our highest intersections with the highest accident rates. Given that traffic safety is a top concern of the residents of San Mateo, it was paramount that the San Mateo Police Department address safety concerns with a strategy that includes education and enforcement without affecting emergency response staffing.

The Red Light Photo Enforcement program allows the city to provide a higher level of enforcement at our problematic intersections without additional costs.  The result is an increase in traffic safety and a higher quality of life for our community.

Chief Susan Manheimer

What does a red light violation look like?
View Sample Violation

What do I do if I receive a violation in the mail?
If you received a red light violation in the mail, follow the instructions on the violation or use PhotoNotice.

Where are the cameras located?
There are three cameras in the City of San Mateo. They are located at the following intersections:

  • EB Hillsdale Blvd to NB Saratoga Drive: Activated on 04/05
  • SB Saratoga Drive to EB & WB Hillsdale Blvd: Activated on 04/05
     
  • EB Hillsdale Blvd to S. Norfolk Street: Activated on 07/05
  • WB Hillsdale Blvd to S. Norfolk Street: Activated on 07/05
     
  • EB 4th Avenue to Humboldt Street: Activated on 10/06

View more Frequently Asked Questions

On November 17, 2003, the San Mateo City Council passed resolution No. 121 authorizing the City Manager to propose a plan for a Red light Photo Enforcement program. The City Council approved the photo enforcement concept in 2004 and the first phase was activated in 2005.

Red light running is a dangerous form of aggressive driving. Drivers who "run" the red light pose a danger to themselves and to other drivers using public roads.

In 2000, approximately 106,000 crashes; 89,000 injuries and 1036 deaths nationwide were attributed to running red lights. Public costs exceeded $7 billion. In a survey performed by Old Dominion University, 55.8% of Americans admit to running red lights, and astoundingly  96% of drivers were afraid of being hit by a red light runner.

This sign is posted throughout the city to let the public know this is a "photo enforced" city.
Photo Enforced Sign
Below is a photo of one of the three 'photo enforcement' cameras located in San Mateo.
Picture of a Red Light camera
The use of automated enforcement provides police departments with an alternative to address the increasing problem of red light violations. Although each state specifies its own traffic laws, a red light violation is commonly defined as the front of a vehicle entering the defined boundary of an intersection after the traffic signal changes to the red phase and the vehicle proceeding through the intersection while the signal is red.

Recently, several cities in the United States have begun using automated enforcement in an attempt to reduce red light violations. The goal of the City of San Mateo’s Photo Enforcement Program is to improve traffic safety and pedestrian safety in the City by increasing compliance with traffic regulations and by reducing traffic accidents and gridlock caused by red light violators.

If you have questions regarding Red Light Enforcement in San Mateo, please call (650) 522-7747 or send an email to .

Officer hours are:

  • Monday to Thursday: 9:00am to 12:00pm
  • Friday: 9:00am to 04:30pm


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