Fight over Cary's red-light cameras goes to court
Posted January 14, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — A class-action lawsuit over a now-defunct red-light camera program in Cary is now before a judge.
Several people ticketed for running red lights in Cary initially filed the lawsuit in 2010, arguing that the timing on the caution lights was too short and that they were unfairly fined.
They are now seeking a refund of all fines that they and plaintiffs who later joined the suit paid on tickets for running red lights.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs say they want Cary to repay approximately $475,000 for about 9,500 people for tickets at traffic signals in question.
One of the plaintiffs, Brian Ceccarelli, a physicist, testified Monday as an expert witness, and said when he drove through the signal at Cary Towne Boulevard and Convention Drive, the yellow light lasted 4 seconds.
He said that did not meet the standards set by the North Carolina Department of Transportation.
"The yellow light at Convention and Cary Towne Boulevard was a half-second shorter than all the rest of them around it," Ceccarelli testified.
Cary traffic engineers and a physics professor at North Carolina State University have disputed Ceccarelli's calculations. All yellow lights are timed to fit DOT safe-stopping standards, Cary officials have said.
Town leaders voted to end the 8-year-old program in August after more than two dozen instances in which drivers were fined for traffic violations they did not commit.
A spokeswoman for Cary said the lawsuit had nothing to do with the decision to end the program.
The plaintiffs hope the case will be a precedent for the entire state. The hearing is expected to resume Tuesday.