Red light cameras could return to Fayetteville - WNCN: News, Weather

Red light cameras could return to Fayetteville

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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 costs.

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 Herring

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>>

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