Red light camera or traffic sensor? The answer from DOTD about the traffic lights in Northeast Louisiana

Local News

MONROE, La (KTVE/KARD) — Have you ever seen a camera looking object on the top of a traffic light and wondered if it was actually a red light camera or a sensor?

Well, in Ouachita Parish, most of the time, it’s actually a sensor to tell the light when to change to green.

The camera looking sensor is just one way the traffic lights switch from red to green. Some sensors are placed in the ground or the lights are on a fixed pattern. While these may look like a red light camera, the traffic light won’t actually change to green if you stop too early behind the white line or stop too far into the intersection.

“To ensure that they’re stopping at that thick white stop bar. It’s there for a reason and that’s so the traffic signal can detect that it’s there,” said Erin Buchanan, Louisiana DOTD.

When you pull up to the line, the sensor is notified and tells the system there’s a car waiting, and when the time is right, the light will change to green.

“We want that traffic flow to be happening properly so that we can ensure motorists are getting where they need to go in a safe manner,” said Buchanan.

We asked a local resident if he’s noticed the camera looking sensors and he said he’s seen them, but didn’t know they affect the traffic lights.

“They change for you, but most of the time they don’t. I really think it’s you’re not pulling up far enough at the light–you have to pull far enough up,” said Bama, Monroe Resident.

Buchanan says traffic signals have to be approved by the guidelines set from the Federal Government, which is why there aren’t signals at every intersection, often it’s a stop sign or even a roundabout which she says, “When it’s at the proper location, it really helps keep traffic flowing safely and you tend to not see those rear end crashes you see when traffic signals are in place.”

Buchanan says as scary as roundabouts may seem, we can expect to see more throughout our area in the future to ensure easy traffic flow.

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