Future of Cary's red light cameras uncertain

August 2, 2012 8:21:17 PM PDT
Red light cameras could soon be scrapped in Cary.

Since 2004, those cameras have been helping to fine drivers $50 dollars each time for allegedly running red lights there. Now, the town manager wants them gone, and opponents to the cameras have the support of a town committee.

Critics said they cause more trouble then they're worth.  

Cameras have been snapping pictures of drivers apparently running red lights at 15 intersections in Cary. The problem is that they have been wrongly fining some drivers who are making legal left turns.  Also, Cary's town manager said his staff is bogged down with work running the cameras.

"There's been a lot of increase in staff time devoted to it," said Cary Town Manager Ben Shivar, "increased processing time for citations that involves affidavits of non-responsibility for the driver, and increased questions and complaints about the program in general."

Also, town officials said support for the cameras has waned in the General Assembly.

"They have not embraced the program," said Shivar. "And in fact, in our opinion, in my opinion they have brought greater scrutiny to it, and that gives us a great deal of concern about proceeding."

The town said the cameras were installed to make intersections safer and to keep traffic flowing, but light timing changes and engineering improvements have made the intersections even safer.

"I think it's sad that the program is losing its effect," said council member Jack Smith. "But if we compensated in other ways, there's just too many hurdles and not enough positives right now to deal with it."

A town committee recommended that Cary abandon the cameras.

Next week, the Cary Town Council is expected to decide the ultimate fate of the cameras.

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