Thursday, July 24, 2014

Red-light cameras get green light

Red-light cameras are coming back to Fayetteville. Could Charlotte and other cities be close behind?

The Senate today voted 36-13 for a bill that lets Fayetteville resume using the cameras on people who run red lights. The fine will be $75, rising to $100 next July 1.

The bill applies only to Fayetteville but it wouldn't be surprising if other cities start eyeing the cameras as a way to make intersections safer -- and raise some much-needed money for schools.

Charlotte and other N.C. cities had such a system but shut it down after the N.C. Court of Appeals ruled in 2006 that 90 percent of the revenue from the tickets had to go to schools. That didn't leave enough to pay the camera contractor.

The bill passed today lets Fayetteville and Cumberland County schools enter into an agreement in which Fayetteville sends the schools 90 percent of the money and the schools send a portion back to the city to cover the contractor's cost. Wake County got a local bill passed in a previous session that allowed it to operate the program.

Charlotte's system worked well at 22 intersections over eight years. The number of red-light violations dropped 70 percent in the first year. Fatalities fell by 49 percent at Florida intersections that have the cameras, according to a recent study done for the Florida legislature.

All that plus money for schools at no cost to the taxpayer. Say cheese!

-- Taylor Batten  


Ghoul said...

Off course comrade Taylor leaves out the part that the tickets are given to taxpayers, so they still foot the bill. He also leaves out the part where the camera operators kept 85% of the fine, so really, how much o a windfall would schools get? And if schools are not keeping the proceeds, then the NC Constitution is not being hollowed, so another lawsuit is soon to follow.

Anonymous said...

Hey Ghoul, got caught rushing through a just-turned red light or two back in the day, eh?

Bolyn McClung said...


There is hardly a day that passes that I don’t see red light violations that take my breath away. Red light cameras might be a good idea except that Charlotte and other NC towns proved themselves morally bankrupt implementing the old programs. The worst offense was shortening the yellow light times so that the vendors would collect enough fines to be able to make a profit.

The other civic crimes connected to the red lights were the roving vans that set-up random speed watches. They invariably set-up at the bottom of hills where speeds were naturally higher. Those vans did nothing to promote safety.

Any public safety effort that involves private sector profit is a bad idea. The only solution to running red lights that saves lives is increasing the time lights are red in both directions.

Bolyn McClung

Stick said...

Red light companies massage statistics to show less accidents in intersections with red light cameras. They only count accidents inside the crosswalks. Accidents within 100' of the intersections actually go up significantly with the installation of red light cameras.

Studies also find that the simple act of increasing the yellow time by two seconds, drastically reduces tickets & accidents.

Shortening the yellow lights has the benefit of increasing revenue. Make no mistake, this is a revenue generator & has nothing to do with safety.

Richard Parisse said...

A high five to Bolyn and Stick. This is a scam by local governments to steal money from poor people. This in turn steals money from the local businesses. Increased safety? That's a joke. Bend over Fayetteville!!

David Godfrey said...

"Red-light cameras get green light"

You can bet a story like this gives everybody at The Observer a woody.

Anonymous said...

Here in Anchorage the tickets were tossed, and the cameras removed. Seems like the law specified that it had to be a law enforcement officer who wrote the ticket.

jay1937 said...

Red light Cameras only increase rear-end crashes. It's a scam and as someone said, increase the 'Yellow Light' time a few seconds. I drive the intersection of Randolph and Sharon Amity often and never know how long the yellow light will be on. Sometimes it only two seconds, other times it's four or five. Once I saw a flashing yellow light and welcomed it, however, I haven't seen it anymore. Those that time these lights often look at an intersection when the traffic is light and they watch the traffic a few minutes, reset the lights and leave. I suggest the look at major intersections at different times of the day and change the time of the signals to match the traffic during the day. The systems being used now, at many intersections, are able to be set to change signal times based on the time of day. Don't put the red light cameras anywhere in Charlotte, it is a scam to make money for the vendor, not the schools. Politicians don't care about the citizens and make dumb decisions that go against the wishes of the people. I often wonder who's getting some of the pie, sort of like ex-mayor Cannon!

Unknown said...

Does Trianna get her point from the fines?