Future of Knightdale red-light cameras uncertain

August 23, 2013 7:47:16 AM PDT
Knightdale's police chief says red light cameras save lives.

Police Chief Jason Godwin says he has proof that they record some drivers' dangerous decisions behind the wheel. However, there's a catch.

Town leaders want to keep red light cameras at busy intersections, but they are concerned about the legal liability that comes with them.

Knightdale has a contract through October with Redflex, which is an Arizona-based red light camera company that's served the town for a decade.

The town manager told ABC11 that a decision on whether to renew a long-term contract with the company is up in the air if Redflex doesn't agree to pay for the town's future legal costs if someone challenges the cameras in court.

Knightdale, Raleigh, and Wilmington are the only North Carolina communities still using the red light cameras.

Godwin said the cameras have proven to protect residents from accidents.

"We have found it to be a great tool in allowing us to promote traffic safety, not only for the motoring public but for pedestrians as well," said Godwin. "By having intersections monitored by these systems, it keeps people honest. It keeps them from flirting with the possibility of getting a ticket, which inevitably makes everyone safer."

In 2011, there were 3,156 red light tickets issued in Knightdale. That number rose to 4,120 in 2012.

Number of accidents at key intersections from 2003 (before cameras) to 2012 (with cameras):

  • Knightdale Blvd./McKnight - down 57%
  • Knightdale Blvd./Old Knight - down 89%
  • Knightdale Blvd./Smithfield Rd. - down 63%
  • Knightdale Blvd./Widewaters - up 78%

The number of total accidents over the nine year period was down 46 percent in all.

Redflex says its focus is on increasing safety for Knightdale. In a statement the company said, "We will continue to work with the town to find a creative solution for both our organizations."

Red light camera were removed from Cary last year.

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