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Red-Light Cameras Headed To Raleigh; Critics Worried About Privacy

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RALEIGH, N.C. — While Raleigh leaders approved the use of traffic cameras at intersections Tuesday, critics are worried about whether the technology would be used to invade one's privacy.

The city negotiated a $1 million contract to put traffic cameras around Raleigh. The cameras snap pictures of drivers who run red lights and then sends them tickets through the mail.

City leaders believe the new cameras will cause drivers to hit the brakes at busy intersections.

"All of us were very impressed with their record. The vendors proved to us that this does have a dramatic impact and it does make intersections much safer," city councilor Phillip Isley said.

Supporters claim the traffic cameras have reduced accidents by 70 percent in some cities, while critics believe the cameras will have a major effect on a person's right to privacy.

"I think we all have concerns about being watched. Being watched by some camera somewhere is a major concern for many of us," said ACLU director Patricia Camp. "We will be very interested in seeing the process work and what protections are built in to safeguard the rights of people who own cars."

Fifteen to 20 cameras will be installed in Raleigh as soon as camera companies decide which intersections need them the most. The city plans to donate any profits from the cameras to the school system.

Fayetteville officials are looking into the possibility of using red-light cameras to catch speeders.

Chapel Hill, Cary and Durham are also working on implementing a red-light camera program.

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