Red Light Cameras Get the Green, Again

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Red light cameras will be back in operation in Raleigh after city councilors let the contract expire two weeks ago.

After voting against a contract extension for the Safelight red light camera program at the last city council meeting, Councilor Eugene Weeks requested to bring the issue back to the table and approve it.

At Tuesday’s meeting, City Attorney Thomas McCormick said that the council could vote on the issue again. But because the contract with ACS Xerox, the company that maintains cameras, expired on Sept. 30, the city manager would have to have authorization to negotiate a 2-year new contract.

The SafeLight program allows the city to place cameras at high-accident intersections. Drivers who run red lights are caught on camera and issued a ticket through the mail. The civil ticket does not result in insurance or drivers license points. Those that receive a ticket, but were not driving their car at the time, can have the ticket transferred to the actual driver.

At the Sept. 20 meeting, Weeks questioned the placement of the cameras and said that some have been moved from intersections in his district. He noted that the one at the intersection of Rock Quarry Road and Proctor Street was removed, but there are still accidents at that intersection.

Transportation Operations Manager Mike Kennon said that accidents at the intersection had dropped to almost nothing, so the department opted to move the camera to another priority location.

Because of the cost associated with running the cameras, City Manager Russell Allen said that staff tries to put the cameras where they can be most useful.

On a second vote Councilors John Odom and Bonner Gaylord held their original position against extending the program.

At the last meeting Gaylord said the program violates the principles of the American justice system. “This seems to be to be guilty until proven innocent,” he said.

Since the ticket is issued to the owner of the car, he said, there is no way to prove that the owner was actually driving.

The motion passed 5 to 2. Mayor Charles Meeker recused himself from the vote.

2 thoughts on “Red Light Cameras Get the Green, Again

  1. Does Gaylord also think parking tickets violate the American justice system?

    Like parking tickets, red light cameras carry civil penalties without causing harm to one’s to insurance or driving record. Like parking tickets, red light camera penalties are issued where the violator can not meet face-to-face with his accuser, and the car owner may not have been the one driving. Like parking tickets, red light camera citations can be appealed.

    Studies nationwide, and in Raleigh have shown that red light camera’s improve the safety of intersections dramatically, by reducing both the severity of collisions, and the number of collisions.

    I am very glad Weeks changed his vote.

  2. I have to wonder what happened to get Weeks to bring this issue back up.

    – can’t say I’ve ever been in favor of red light cameras OR inattentive drivers.