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Intersection Cameras Stop Speeders in Charlotte, Raleigh Could Be Next

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RALEIGH — Raleigh leaders want the option of putting cameras at intersections to help catch people running red lights. The City of Charlotte has been using the cameras for eight months, and officials there say the program has been very successful.

Charlotte began the program at twenty intersections, where anyone who runs a red light is automatically ticketed. Citations are sent through the mail.

The tickets issued by the cameras cost drivers less than those issued by officers. A camera-generated citation is for $50; the tickets written by an officer run about $100.

"It goes 24 hours a day, seven days a week, holidays and you get the reputation out at the intersection (if it is a high crash location) that someone is always watching," says Lt. J.D. Everett.

Tickets generated by the cameras also do not go toward points on a driver's license, and so do not affect insurance rates.

"It's almost along the same lines of getting a parking ticket on your vehicle because it is a civil fine," Everett said. "You may not park your car at an illegal space, but if somebody borrows your car and parks it there, since it is your vehicle, you still are liable for that fine."

Officials says total accidents have dropped 25 percent since the program began, and accidents caused by people running red lights are down 38 percent.

In the program's first three months, the cameras issued more citations than the city's police department wrote in a whole year. In the eight months since the program started, 17,000 citations have been issued.

Officials say the program is not a cash cow; they have made about $300,000 on it. They believe the cameras have acted very effectively as a deterrent.

There are several bills pending that would make it possible to introduce the cameras into other local areas, including Chapel Hill. There is also a statewide bill that has been introduced.

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Len Besthoff, Reporter
Joe Frieda, Photographer
Julie Moos, Web Editor

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