Local News

Cary Cameras Target Red-Light Runners

Posted February 25, 2004

— Red-light cameras have been in Cary for three weeks and the results are already raising eyebrows.

Every time a car runs a red light at the intersection of Cary Towne Boulevard and Convention Way, a red-light camera photographs the license plate.

In the first active week, 115 tickets were issued. Town leaders said that number is on the high end of their expectations.

"On average, we're running about 16 citations a day on the first camera," said Chief Windy Hunter of the Cary Police Department.

Hunter says that number is high, but not surprising.

"They do have a higher number of violations when the cameras are first installed. As people get used to them, then you see a decrease. So what we're hoping to see over time is a decrease," he said.

For town councilman Jack Smith, the results prove a point.

"We have had a lot of major violations," he said. "Sadly, it does reinforce why we have the program."

According to town leaders, it is not just red-light cameras that will improve traffic safety. Cary is also considering a red-light synchronization that town leaders say will improve traffic flow and eliminate the need to run a red light.

"It's a proactive approach. I think it's an approach that the citizens welcome," Smith said.

While not everyone likes the red-light cameras, Hunter says it is too early to pass judgment. Is this over-enforcement?

"Well, it depends on how you look at it from the standpoint, I think, of public safety," he said. "If you are looking at preventing crashes, and if you ever talk to a victim who's been involved in a crash at an intersection from somebody running a red light, I suspect their perspective might be a little different on it," Hunter said.

Cary currently has two red-light cameras -- one at the intersection of Cary Towne Boulevard and Convention Way and one at Tryon Road and Regency Parkway.

The town hopes to have the cameras at

16 locations

by March 2005.

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