Local News

Cary To Kick "Red-Light" Cameras Into Overdrive

Posted March 4, 2002

— Drivers decide how much they can "push it" as a traffic light turns red, unless police are watching. That could be about to change for drivers in Cary.

The North Carolina General Assembly gave the town the green light to install red-light traffic cameras.

The town will install cameras that take pictures of more than just a vehicle's license plate. In about a second, the camera can snap as many as 12 images including a wide shot of the vehicle, the front, the back and a close-up of the driver.

The town said that it is not trying to be Big Brother, it is just trying to be accurate.

"Safety is the number one goal," said Dale Privette, a Cary traffic engineer. "Anytime we can prevent one crash when somebody has run a red light, we've saved a tremendous amount of money, and we've saved personal heartache and suffering. That's something that's good for all of us."

Within a year, 10 Cary intersections will have red-light cameras. In two years, a total of 20 intersections will have the cameras.

Possible red-light watch zones include Maynard Road at Chapel Hill Road, Cary Parkway at Kildaire Farm Road and the Walnut Street, U.S. 1, Crossroads interchange.

Cary officials said that catching red-light runners has worked in other places, so it can work here.

"Safety has been increased by really high percentages in Charlotte, Wilmington, Fayetteville and other municipalities that have them across the country. It's phenomenal," Privette said.

The Cary Town Council will select a private contractor to run the red-light camera system. Violators will be fined $50. The fines will pay the contractor, and profits will go to the school system.

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