Never Get A Red Light Camera Ticket Again With This GPS Hack

Never Get A Red Light Camera Ticket Again With This GPS Hack

If you live in a city with red light cameras that snap pictures when you accidentally sneak through a red light then chances are you’ve received a ticket with your picture in the mail before. Hacker Dave was so annoyed with these tickets he decided to rig up a GPS to alert him when he was near a right light camera.

Using a GPS receiver, an OLED display, a database of red light cameras and an Atmega with a Arduino bootloader, Dave created a simple system that alerts him when he’s near a red light camera. It’s not perfect and still won’t stop you from accidentally running a red light, but it might be enough to make you more conscious of your driving when you know red light cameras are in the area. Hit up the link below for a full walkthrough and the source code to make this project for yourself.

Red Light Camera Alerter [Plastibots Lego Robotics via Hack a Day]


  • I’ve seen people employ a similar system. They look ahead at traffic lights, and if there’s an amber coloured light they use the ‘brake’ system in their vehicle so slow down and stop. This idea makes it sound like it’s fine to run lights, as long as there’s no camera. Not fine if you run over a toddler.

  • Yes, you could rig this up. Or you could just not drive through red lights. (People do know that amber means “stop if it is safe to do so”, not “put your foot down”, right?)

    • @ Daniel, you cop this first because you were quicker to whinge…

      Up to 10% of males are red green colour blind and when you add other colours and forms of colour blindness, the colour blind poulation may be up to 20%.

      This means to stop at a red light you not only have to see the light but also see that it is the topmost light (at least here in Oz).

      There is not a normal medical check either here in Oz. You are more likely to be challenged by your mates for wearing poor colour matching clothes to get thispicked up. I was checked when I was doing electrical work to confirm I could see the difference between active (red) and earth wiring (green). I passed.

      If you were colour blind, and missed stopping at the red light, you could honestly say you just did not see it!

      So Daniel Etal, this puts a whole different view out there about the assistance this technology can provide!

        • You’re an idiot. Everyone knows the topmost is red. Pretty fscking simple. If you can’t comprehend that, then get off the road. we’ve got enough bad drivers already.

          • You sir, are a troll. You also cannot comprehend written english.

            1. I wrote “This means to stop at a red light you not only have to see the light but also see that it is the topmost light (at least here in Oz)”. It is this second congition step that is crucial.

            2. BTW I do drive and I also said I was not colourblind, so I won’t get off the road.

        • My girlfriend has a condition that makes it difficult for her to drive safely. So she doesn’t bloody drive. If you can’t observe the traffic symbols required to drive safely because of impaired vision – that sucks and I hope they find a cure or release a driving aid to allow you to drive safely. But until then – get off the bloody road. You’re an idiot.

          If you can observe the traffic lights well enough to drive, then pay attention to the bloody road, you don’t need a redlight camera detector.

          Dissapointed in Lifehacker for posting this. Maybe during Evil Week, but even then – running red lights can get people killed. The solution to getting tickets for running red lights isn’t this crap. It’s to not run the bloody lights.

          • “My girlfriend has a condition that makes it difficult for her to drive safely. ”

            It is called being female…BOOM BOOM

      • If you can’t “see” red lights, or if you somehow can’t remember that the red light is the top one and when it’s on you shouldn’t be driving through the intersection, you shouldn’t be driving. Pretty simple.

        • And in safety critical industries such as train driver, ship captain, airplane pilot etc… where red/green lights are used for safe navigation medical pre-screening picks it up and removes those people from those jobs. The same level of safety is not applied to our roads.

      • Dougal that is all well and good.

        But this system isn’t there to find red lights.

        It is there to tell the driver whether or not he can go through a red light and not receive a fine.

        He doesn’t receive a warning if goes through a traffic light which doesn’t have a red light camera.

        • Yep you are right – but if like me you were once in a car with a colourblind driver who scared the be-jesus out of me going through a red light you might understand that there are two cognition steps…

          As I wrote “This means to stop at a red light you not only have to see the light but also see that it is the topmost light (at least here in Oz)”.

          My point being that colourblind drivers do exist, and they do go through reds, with or without cameras – so take care.

      • People who are colour blind associate the light position with go or stop, it’s pretty simple. This device isnt even designed to help colour blind its so someone can go through red lights without getting a ticket, which doesnt make it safe and its how a large amount of crashes are caused and deaths of motorcyclist.

      • Dougal – not sure where you went to primary/high school, but we all got tested in my home state of WA. We all did the Ishihara Test with the dots and numbers. It is also recommended if your family has a history of colour weakness/blindness and can be done via a local GP.

        • In NSW, the populous state, when I went through my youth there were no doctor tests, medicals schooltests or driving tests to check you for colourblindness. Only the workplace test (Ishihara BTW), which I would not have done had I been doing other work than electrical cabling.

          This, if still current practice, means may millions of potentially colourblind NSW drivers are out there, across Australia – very scary!

  • You should get tickets if you have a habit of running red lights, “accidently” running a red light could “accidently” hit someone and you probably shouldnt be driving on the road if you need a red light camera sensor.

  • TomTom for the iPhone beeps near fixed cameras. I suspect many other apps and GPS products do the same.

    As a cyclist, I don’t see what good can come of this feature, or this device.

  • I agree with the other comments here.. SeperatIng the revenue collection on ‘speed’ cameras from red light cameras – two very different beasts – anyone that ‘needs’ to know if there are red light camera around needs to have their privilage of using our roads taken away from them…

  • The law has a pretty good workaround for those who do mow down a cyclist or pedestrian in the setting of an amber light in a vehicle modified to circumvent the law – its called upgrade from negligent driving occasioning bodily harm (or death as applicable) to grievous bodily harm using a vehicle (or manslaughter as applicable). Be warned that law enforcement also has a pretty dim view of folks whose cars are fitted with after market mods. It causes them to switch from “I’m giving this honest citizen a warning ” mode to “This punk is giving his next mortgage payment to the court system” mode.

  • To be fair, every traffic light has a different amber duration. In my town, one could last for 1 second, and another for 4 seconds depending on the joining roads (highways get a longer yellow etc.) so it’s not a matter of people putting their foot down at amber lights, it’s about thinking “Can I stop safely?” and trying to judge how long a light will stay amber for.

    With that said, you shouldn’t use this system to run red lights, which should go without saying

    • Uh… it shouldn’t matter how long the light is amber for. If you see the light change to amber then you stop if it is safe to do so. Whether or not it is safe to stop does not depend on how long the light will be amber.

      The length of the amber light is only relevant to the question “Is it safe to proceed?”. That is not how the law is framed.

  • There are RED lights now? Wow!

    Seriously, the fuck? How often do you “accidentally” run a red light? What kind of fucking tool does that instead of being aware and covering the brake and being a bit more AWARE of potential red lights rather than running them?

  • The comments on this thread have partially restored my faith in humanity.

    Comments on the original HacADay thread seem to be from a bunch of reckless conspiracy-theorists who justify their sociopathic conduct with feeble excuses.

    I can’t begin to comprehend the mentality of those who send a tonne of metal at >20m/s through space which may legitimately be occupied by another vehicle at the same time – it’s just lunacy.
    Every intersection shoulod have red light cameras and the offence should attract the heaviest fine possible.

  • Simplest idea is to NOT SPEED and NOT RUN RED LIGHTS. Yes, I’m up on my sopabox, AND my high horse.. but seriously… just drive like a human being, like a member of a community, part of society, friend to your fellow man.

    And as for the subject of the article… unless I”m missing some key point here… this problem has already been SOLVED… by TomTom, Garmin, Navman… et al. No need to re-invent the (speeding) wheel here.

  • How about you have a “Lifehacker for retards” section fr stuff like this, and stop wasting space on this kind of garbage? How do you “accidentally” run red lights, and if it’s “accidentally”, why should you be warned only on the lights with cameras. This is just moronic.

    If you don’t have anything intelligent for an article, just don’t write it. This is pathetic.

  • How about a flashing red light on your dash reminding you to pay attention to the road and not you phone/ithing/or whatever else you must be doing to not see that the lights right in front of you have changed

    • Plus fcking one!

      So many sht drivers on the road nowadays. Lazy roundabout cutters. Drifting into lanes without noticing. No signalling. Bad taxi drivers. Really bad VHA and VHB drivers, etc, etc.

  • “Accidentally sneak through a red light” …big sigh, thanks for reminding me why I unsubscribed from Lifehacker’s newsfeed and stopped visiting a while back.

  • First a post about disabling smoke alarms – now one about running red lights. Loving the social responsibility coming from Lifehacker HQ today!

  • Idiot lifehack – just because something CAN be done doesn’t mean you should do it.

    Let’s put some bomb recipes and poison gas concoctions up too, those are also really useful.

    I know this site has been at the bottom of the barrel for a while trying to keep a high output of articles, but how about putting reason and sense above article count?

  • This isnt something lifehacker should be posting, its essentially promoting a very dangerous act of going through a red light which could result in a death because you didnt want to wait a minute for a green light. Disappointed to see this.

      • Trapster does more than indicate if a fixed camera is operating. there are alerts for; school zone, accidents, roadworks, dangerous intersections, plus others (like mobile speed cameras) and it is also community driven.

        this article is against what life hacker stands for ” making life easier”. when did programming & fitting electronics to your car become easier than installing an app on your smart phone & perhaps a windshield mount for your phone. it’s not liked this “hack” would be cheaper to make than getting a basic android phone.

  • Ignoring all the road safety issues this article appears to be promoting, every smartphone with a GPS in it has this ability, every GPS navigation device (Navman etc) has this ability, every driver has the ability to determine if the traffic signal is telling you to stop or go.

    On to road safety issues: speeding can be accidental (still dangerous) as when you’re focusing on where you are going and the surrounding road environment you can creep over the speed limit by accident (no excuse, but it can be accidental). Running a red light can not be accidental. You must be paying attention to where you are going when you drive which means that you must see the traffic signals and the intersection as you approach it and as such, you can not accidentally run a red light. If you do, imo you are being wilfully negligent (in the case of speeding you are still being negligent, but not necessarily wilfully)

  • Its meant to be fun, it’s an electronic project, but a dud. The idea of someone focusing on this device OR their cel OR their gps instead of the road just to avoid a ticket they deserve if their habit is to gun it on yellow,,, well that should bother you, all the justification about color blindness aside. If the middle light is lit, stop if it is safe to do so. (unless you are in Italy 😉 )

  • Umm, my 4 year old GPS has red light locations and an alert and gets updates from the manufacturer.

    Further to that I have yet to “accidentally” drive through a red light. try following road rules and remove head from butt before turning ignition key…

  • When I went for my license, I was shown one of three transparent colour plastic disks by the VicRoads tester and asked to identify the colour. This was done along with the ID check and taking my money before I went for my license test. This was in 1980 so I don’t know what they do now.

  • Alerting is nice, and great project, however i wonder if simply using infra-red strobing or infrared laser aimed at the camera, would not do a better job,if coupled with a system like this.

    after all speed camera’s are more about money then civil justice enforcement, if they were about civil enforcement, then they would employ embarrassment as a tactic, by revealing the identify of people so that if you dont want to be up on a bill board then you simply stick to the rules.

    and watching other be embarrassed usually works to ensure you dont emulate the behaviour that would get you embarrassed.

  • I will stick to being an actual good driver who neither runs red lights nor speeds in built up areas and drives to the conditions.

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