CLEARWATER, Fla. - You've seen them posted atop traffic signals at major intersections throughout the bay area, but do you know the purpose of the tiny white cameras? Contrary to popular belief, they are not red light cameras.
The traffic monitoring cameras are used by counties, cities, law enforcement, and traffic engineers. Unlike red light cameras, they do not record. The cameras provide only a live stream and they're designed to help with your daily commute.
The Clearwater Police Department gets phone calls daily from people inquiring about a red light they think they ran or asking to see video footage from a traffic crash they were involved in. Officers remind residents these particular cameras do not record and can not go back in time.
The city of Clearwater has approximately 40 traffic monitoring cameras, the majority of them are along Gulf to Bay Blvd., and also up and down U.S. 19.
"Those cameras are basically there to monitor the flow of traffic. There are actually sensors under the road on some of them, monitored by the city and the county. If one intersection gets backed up, the sensors can adjust accordingly the timing of the lights," said Lt. Michael Walek with the Clearwater Police Department.
The cameras offer a bird's eye view of an intersection so traffic engineers, 911 dispatchers, and law enforcement can easily respond and assist during a traffic problem.