Small Town's Red-Light Cameras Get Big Results

Posted August 5, 2004 7:46 a.m. EDT

— Red-light cameras are becoming old news in large cities across North Carolina.

From the Triangle, to the Triad, to points south, cameras are catching red-light runners in their tracks.

Small towns also have begun using cameras to stop speeders. At least one Wake County town has gotten big results.

In Knightdale, the red-light camera video stream comes right to the police chief's desk.

"When the flash goes off, those three flashes, and you see the (drivers') brake lights, the drivers know they've been had," Chief Skip Blaylock explained as he watched video of violators.

Knightdale is the smallest town in the Triangle and the second smallest statewide with a red-light camera program.

The camera captures digital, moving video, not just stills. It even measures speed.

"It's good to be in a small department, yet be on what I consider the cutting edge of technology," Blaylock said.

Special legislation allowed Knightdale to put up red-light cameras at Highway 64 and Old Knight Road.

Business owner Bob Reynolds never thought his Mack's Mart would have a high-tech red-light camera right out front.

"It really did surprise us," he said. "With all the accident-prone corners they have in the Raleigh area, Raleigh city area, I was really surprised."

According to State Senator Marc Basnight's office, Pineville -- which is south of Charlotte -- is the smallest North Carolina town with red-light cameras. All towns that want red-light cameras must get special legislation.

Since its cameras went up July 1, Knightdale has issued 503 red-light violations.

Blaylock said he received his first challenge Wednesday. A driver claimed he was not in violation. -- until Blaylock showed him the video proof.

"He watched it twice and said: 'Well, I guess I owe the $50,'" Blaylock said.