Although cities across North Carolina
have stopped using red light cameras, city leaders in Fayetteville are
considering bringing them back after eight years.
Fayetteville began using red light
cameras in 1999, and the city stopped using them in 2006. Ten cameras were put
up at eight intersections across the city, but the program ended because of
A change in state law meant 90 percent
of the revenue from a ticket had to go to schools, and that did not leave
enough money to cover operating expenses. Those expenses included paying a
third-party company to install and maintain the cameras and their technology.
The cameras were so effective though,
that Councilman Jim Arp proposed bringing the cameras back during a recent
meeting of the city-county liaison committee. He believes they improve safety
and free up police officers.
The city's Engineering and Infrastructure
Director Rusty Thompson agrees. He said side angle crashes were reduced 50 to
60 percent at some of the eight intersections where the cameras were installed.
"And we think it had a little bit
of a halo effect," Thompson said. "Our crash rates went down citywide as those
cameras were in action. I think citizens just couldn't keep track as to where
the cameras were."
Now Thompson is checking on the costs
of the cameras these days. If the idea moves forward city leaders will look to
Wilmington for a model because it is the only North Carolina city that still
uses red light cameras. Wilmington has worked out a funding agreement with
local schools that allows the city to cover costs.
Brandon is a North Carolina native and UNC alum who lives in Fayetteville, and covers Cumberland County and the Sandhills. Returning to North Carolina to work as a journalist is a dream come true for Brandon.More>>