Local News

Fight over Cary's red-light cameras goes to court

Posted January 14, 2013

— 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.

29 Comments

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  • djofraleigh Jan 15, 4:29 p.m.

    I've paid two red light tickets and it was just, a half second or not. I support them. watch the cameras in action from the wral cited site;

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h31jJ_DoCb0

  • hpr641 Jan 15, 3:22 p.m.

    "Request your court date and have them prove it was you." Uh no, that would be an incorrect assumption. No sir, with RLC's, there is an assumption of guilt, not innocence. Worse, proving innocence can often be a pretty difficult thing to do.

  • Wiser_now Jan 15, 2:21 p.m.

    Let it go, people. The cameras are gone and it will cost more in money and time than it's worth. The courts are already backlogged with more serious cases.

  • NJDEVILSFANINNCHELL Jan 15, 1:50 p.m.

    Red light tickets are the easiest to beat. Think about it. It's just the car & license plate, it can't see who is driving. Request your court date and have them prove it was you. The 9,500 who payed should get nothing for being stupid.

  • thinkin out loud Jan 15, 12:51 p.m.

    SO what is the DOT standard and does it change based on the speed limit? My daughter got one in downtown Raleigh and the form stated the yellow light was 4 seconds.

  • Relic Jan 15, 12:26 p.m.

    Aaaaaand all the fees and costs involved with this idiotic lawsuit are WAAAAAAY more than if these people would have just paid their $50 fine and been done with it, with nothing on their driving records.

    So convenience should be more important than due process? I think not. When I can have my lawyer question the "red light camera" in court. I'll agree. Constitutional rights are more important than convenience and a revenue source for Cary.

  • ThePunisher Jan 15, 12:05 p.m.

    make the town pay

  • mewubbau Jan 15, 11:17 a.m.

    ummmm no matter you should not be cutting it that close anyhow---a half second?! really, drivers are just horrible and self-motivated in every turn they make! i know I make mistakes too, but i'll fess up to them. arrrgghh, driving anywhere now is such a hassle mostly because of the actions of others.

  • NCLivin18 Jan 15, 10:54 a.m.

    Stupid law suit. Ceccarelli won, Cary removed the cameras, I guess he's someone who can't let it go. If he wins and receives money from the town of Cary, the tax payers will have to pay. As a Cary Tax Payer, and someone who has had to pay the $50 fine (for my son and husband) I don't want my tax money going to pay for this case.

  • scot30 Jan 15, 10:24 a.m.

    Aaaaaand all the fees and costs involved with this idiotic lawsuit are WAAAAAAY more than if these people would have just paid their $50 fine and been done with it, with nothing on their driving records. Yet another waste of Judicial time and resources in this country that could be spent on more important cases.

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