Report: Crashes Declining At Raleigh Intersections With Red-Light Cameras

Posted February 2, 2005

— A new study out suggests Raleigh's red-light cameras are getting the job done in reducing crashes.

N.C. State's Institute of Transportation Research says crashes are declining at the city's 12 red-light camera intersections. Total collisions are down 17 percent. Red-light running wrecks are down 22 percent. Angle collisions are down 42 percent. Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker said that is good for now.

"A quarter to a third is significant, 5 or 10 percent is not and it looks like these figures are close to a quarter, so that's positive. We need to take a look at them and see if it's going to persist over time," Meeker said.

Meeker wants the City Council to analyze the study and vote on the future of red-light cameras. Right now, that future looks secure.

"Because they're obviously helping our safety and that's the main issue, it's not to get revenue for the school system. The idea here is to go ahead and make the roads more safe, particularly those bad intersections," he said.

Attorney Bob Hensley spends a lot of time in traffic court and when he was a state legislator, he fought red light camera bills. He said the red light camera study does not prove anything.

"I have statistics that show that dummy cameras, dummy cameras have the same impact on wrecks that red light cameras have," he said.

For the short-term at least, it looks like red light cameras are here to stay in Raleigh, but as the courts, the Legislature and local governments debate their effectiveness, personal opinion, even among supporters, seems to be conflicted.

"I'm really sort of on the fence, personally. I mean it's one of those things I, sort of, prefer not to have, because of the Big Brother aspect," Meeker said. "On the other hand if it'll make our streets safer and stop people from running red lights, then it's something to think about."

The study also showed that rear-end collisions at red-light intersections decreased 25 percent.


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