Local News

Move Under Way To Remove Red-Light Cameras In Chapel Hill

Posted January 12, 2004

— A Chapel Hill city councilman is trying to put the brakes on red-light cameras.

Mark Kleinschmidt said he will bring a petition before the council Monday night to end the camera contract. He said the cameras take pictures of license plates that are unreadable and sometimes snap when lights are green.

"Once upon a time, we had a system that when people ran a red light, a police officer would stop them, and they would receive a citation, and they'd have a day in court," Kleinschmidt said.

Kleinschmidt said the red-light cameras "undermine all of the protections that our court systems offer to people."

Supporters said the cameras, put up last fall, have not been up long enough to determine their effectiveness. They said in that time the cameras captured images of about 1400 red-light runners.

"I think we have to leave them up and give them a chance to work," red-light camera supporter David Godschalk said, "and I think we have to put them at more intersections."

Opponents propose longer yellow lights or red lights, which they said have also been shown to cut down on red light violations.

In addition to Kleinschmidt, four other council members have shown support for ending the program. A vote is expected in about two weeks.

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