Local News

Drivers sue over timing of yellow lights in Cary

Posted December 15, 2010 9:39 a.m. EST
Updated December 15, 2010 6:38 p.m. EST

— Four people ticketed for running red lights in Cary have filed a lawsuit claiming that the time set for yellow lights in the town is too short.

The plaintiffs want a judge to rule their case is a class action, allowing other drivers who have been ticketed to join the suit, which was filed Nov. 30 in Wake County Superior Court. They are seeking a court order overturning Cary's red-light camera ordinance and a refund of all fines the plaintiffs paid on tickets for running red lights.

Brian Ceccarelli, one of the plaintiffs, said in May that the timing of the caution light is supposed to be based on the speed limit, the size of the intersection and a safe stopping distance.

State Department of Transportation equations show the yellow light at Cary Towne Boulevard and Convention Drive should last 4.5 seconds, but Ceccarelli estimated it lasted only 4 seconds when he was ticketed there last year.

Cary traffic engineers and a physics professor at North Carolina State University have disputed Ceccarelli's calculations. All yellow lights are timed to fit DOT safe-stopping standards, Cary officials have said.

Town spokeswoman Susan Moran said Wednesday that Cary's 17 red-light cameras are designed to prevent accidents by keeping traffic flowing and not allowing intersections to be blocked.

"Unlike some communities, the Town of Cary does not financially profit from the (red-light camera) program," Moran said in a statement. "Ours is and has always been about safety, not making money."

Fines from red-light tickets go to the Wake County Public School System.