Mayor Wants to Know if Red-Light Cameras Cut Accidents

Posted July 24, 2007

— Mayor Charles Meeker on Tuesday called for a report on the effectiveness of the city's 13 red-light cameras in reducing crashes and on how much money local schools get from traffic fines the cameras generate.\

"Red-light cameras actually work pretty well, in regard to enforcement," Meeker said. "So, there hasn't been a lot of dispute about that."

He said that what he wants to know is whether they are reducing the number of serious crashes, specifically side crashes in which a driver pulls into an intersection and either hits another vehicle or is hit by one.

"If the cameras aren't really reducing the accidents, particularly the serious ones, there really is no point in having them in place," Meeker said.

A North Carolina State University Institute of Transportation Research and Education study released in February 2005 found that side crashes had decreased at the 12 Raleigh intersections that had cameras at the time. It also showed a 7 percent increase in rear-end collisions, however.

City leaders have said in the past that an increase in rear-end collisions was expected because people began to make stops they were supposed to make but had not been making before.

"I'm very confident that we can show the council, once again, that these intersections with their lights and cameras, are working," Raleigh City Manager Russell Allen said.

Meeker also wants to know whether the city is providing revenue generated from the red-light cameras to the Wake County Public School System. Last year, the school system received more than $117,000 from several municipalities but none from Raleigh.

Advocates for the red-light cameras said they were never pitched as a money-maker for the school system, but as more of a safety device. Revenue generated from the cameras goes first to paying the company that operates them and for city costs involved.

Allen, however, said the city does expect to send some money to the schools in coming weeks, but an exact amount was still unclear.

The Board of Education has said it believes the school system is owed money under a State Court of Appeals ruling that said High Point could not use the fines to pay for its operating costs. The state Supreme Court recently declined to review that ruling.

As the law stands for Wake County, 90 percent of profits, after operating costs, go back to schools.


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  • All child molesters should die Jul 25, 2007

    What a stupid question. I can answer that: HECK NO THEY AREN'T WORKING! However, if you wanted more rear-ends to occur, then yes, they are working great, in that respect!

    Get rid of them! Idiots tend to freeze, and STOP for a YELLOW light! That is what causes problems!

  • Esq Jul 25, 2007

    They aren't working. Get rid of them ASAP.

  • pack-man Jul 25, 2007

    I could care less about these cameras. I know where they are and I slow down when I'm near one. I guess that is the overall concept since I once read that they were put at Raleigh's most nuissance intersections.

    Bottom line, no one should run a red light, its against the law. If there are people out there doing it on regular basis, they should be caught. I prefer by a police officer since it seems to have more of a lasting impression.

    Final comment, I'm sick of Wake County schools asking for more money. I give them enough.

  • ncnurse Jul 25, 2007

    The Cameras suck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    The only thing that is more offensive thant the cameras is the bbureaucrats and politicians fighting and bickering over the money they genereate!!!!!!!!

    OH BUT WAIT, its for "Crayons for the children"... Shame on me and others who disagree with this program.

  • Steve Crisp Jul 25, 2007

    If Meeker were truly interested in the safety aspect of the project, he would abandon the cameras and instruct city engineers to force all lights at an intersection to hold red for three full seconds everytime a light changes.

    That has been shown to decrease ALL accidents by up to 90 percent.

    But that doesn't make any money and it doesn't allow Meeker to spew more of his social engineering tripe to his liberal friends who think he's doing such a wonderful job.

  • I say... Jul 25, 2007

    This isn't about whether or not you like the cameras. The law the municipalities are violating mandates that *all* revenue from the cam go to the schools, and for good reason. This ensures that only dangerous intersection get the cameras, as the city or town has to bear the cost.

    The way they are currently implemented, the fines pay the vendor costs, and the remainder goes to the schools. With the cost to the town being $0, we could easily end up with nearly every light having one of these devices installed, as is the case today on Knightdale Boulevard. As soon as the town starts to cover the lucrative vendor contracts out of general funds, we will see how many remain.

  • migsander Jul 24, 2007

    I believe the cameras aren't as effective as they were intended. Since people drive at high speed anyway, how can any of them be caught by the camera. These camers still haven't prevented many accidents because people are slamming on their brakes to avoid a ticket and the person behind them was so close and going so fast that they rear-end the car in front of them.

  • cartman Jul 24, 2007

    ROlling Along, I was in a rear-end collision in Cary. It totalled my car, caused extensive damage to the car in front of mine (an unmarked police car) and even the car in front of that. So rear-end collisions can be quite severe.

  • hdsoftail Jul 24, 2007


  • Slip Kid Jul 24, 2007

    "So, why not have all cars equipped with a government-bought black box, or some device to measure driving habits. Tickets could be mailed. Good drivers could be rewarded by even lower insurance rates." - djofraleigh

    They have a word for your ideas - - communism. You want the COMMUNity to take care of you instead of taking care of your self. It's all about pinning it on the 'other guy' insteasd of looking after your own responsibilities.

    Where else do you want cameras and summary judgement? Once we get used to them, they will pervade our society. No Thanks!