Local News

Red-Light Cameras Sprouting Up All Over

Posted September 3, 2003 8:59 a.m. EDT

— Get ready, Triangle drivers. If you have not seen red-light cameras yet, you probably will soon.

Some cities are just starting to use them. Some are adding more. Others are months away as the use of cameras continues to grow and catch on.

Chapel Hill is now officially in the red-light camera business. The town is watching at the intersection of Airport Road and Estes Drive. There also is a camera at 15-501 at Sage Road, where a driver died in a red-light runner crash last year.

Later this week, Raleigh plans to add to its cameras at Dawson and South and Six Forks and Rowan. As early as Thursday, there will be red-light cameras at Dawson and Morgan, Rock Quarry at Crosslink, Hilllsborough at Dixie Trail and Capital Boulevard at Highwoods.

The Raleigh City Council voted Tuesday to give drivers 30 days to appeal tickets at the new camera locations instead of 21. The council also changed the rules for drivers who claim someone else was using their car.

Contractors are working on Durham's signals, but they have no idea where they will put any red-light cameras. That is because the Bull City wants to finish upgrading its traffic-light system before it puts up red-light cameras.

"I'd say the earliest we'd get them would probably be the middle of next year -- the earliest," said Durham Transportation member Mark Ahrendson. "And it may be from mid- to the end of next year."

So, to review: Fayetteville has red-light cameras. Raleigh is adding more. Chapel Hill just turned them on. Durham eventually will have them, and Cary is several months away from installing its red-light cameras.

With all those cameras in operation or being planned, WRAL asked a North Carolina State University researcher who is studying red-light cameras if they are a good thing or a bad thing.

"We need a controlled study to really know in the end if this is producing a collision benefit, and we don't have that yet," Joe Hummer said. "So, right now, they are probably a good thing. But we need some more work to know for sure."

A new study is about to get underway. The guinea pigs will be drivers at Chapel Hill's new red light intersections.