Local News

Raleigh Cracking Down On Red-Light Runners

Posted July 21, 2003 7:59 a.m. EDT
Updated August 20, 2008 4:50 p.m. EDT

— Raleigh is now in the red-light camera business. The city's new Safelight Program is officially under way.

The first two red-light cameras began clicking Monday morning at the intersections of South and Dawson and Six Forks and Rowan.

The cameras snap two pictures. If a review team of two police officers believes the motorist is in violation, they will mail the offender a $50 ticket. There will be a two-week grace period before tickets start going out.

Over the next several weeks, red-light cameras will be positioned at five additional Raleigh intersections: Hillsborough at Dixie Trail, Dawson at Morgan, Wilmington at Morgan, Rock Quarry at Cross Link and Capital at Highwoods.

Raleigh plans to have 15 cameras in place by the end of the year.

Here is how the system works: Loops under the pavement tell the cameras when to shoot pictures. If any part of the vehicle is across the first line in the intersection, and the light is not red, there is no violation.

A red-light camera citation rarely is reversed, though it can be challenged by the recipient. There is room on the back of the citation for someone to explain why they think they should not have received it.

Signs will mark all red-light camera intersections.

Reactions are mixed to "SafeLight." Some drivers say the red-light camera is a great idea, noting the dangers of running red lights. Others think the cameras violate their constitutional rights.

Red-light runners have killed 11 people in Raleigh in the past five years. They have caused thousands of accidents and received more than 10,000 tickets.

Traffic engineers said statistics from cities that have red-light cameras show that the cameras make intersections safer.

Ticket proceeds will pay a private company to run them, and any money left over goes to the school system.