Local News

Red-light cameras record wrecks, near misses

Posted August 5, 2010 5:53 p.m. EDT
Updated August 6, 2010 8:13 a.m. EDT

— Red-light cameras on U.S. Highway 64 (Knightdale Blvd.) through Knightdale not only get images of vehicles that run the light, they also have recorded an array of wrecks and near misses.

A white school activity bus skids and swerves on the rain-slicked road to avoid hitting a car and then eases through an intersection. A tractor-trailer slams into a car, spinning it around before the back end of the truck hits it again. A car careens across the median and into the oncoming lanes to avoid a collision.

"That is more or less a daily occurrence at the intersections," said Shawn Brown, Knightdale's public safety director and police chief. "People are using their cell phones, or they're distracted in some way and don't see the light."

Knightdale has six intersections equipped with red-light cameras, and one of those recently got a second set. Brown said the cameras give officers extra eyes on the intersections.

Drivers who avoid a wreck still get a $50 ticket in the mail for running a red light. The amount of fines Knightdale has collected from people not stopping for red lights has tripled in the past year, from $9,000 to $27,000.

The Wake County school district gets half of the proceeds from the fines, and the rest of the money is used to fund the camera system.

Brown attributes the increase to the town's growing population, and the new shops and restaurants that have increased traffic volume along U.S. 64. He said the cameras help keep drivers alert to traffic lights.

"Traditionally in Knightdale, we've seen less accidents at the intersections where we do have the red-light cameras," he said.