Red light cameras return to Fayetteville

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Red light cameras made a comeback in Fayetteville Wednesday afternoon after an eight year hiatus. (WTVD)

Red light cameras made a comeback in Fayetteville Wednesday afternoon after an eight year hiatus.

The cameras, equipped with 3D radar tracking and 29 megapixel views, began operating at noon. Four cameras are installed in three heavily trafficked intersections to include Morganton and Skibo Road, Reilly and Kimridge Road, and Ramsey and Law Street.

Five additional cameras are set for installation in the coming months.

RELATED: Controversial red light cameras returning to some Fayetteville intersections

A decade ago, the program ended when the city could not afford to pay for it. At that time, all of the proceeds went to the school system, leaving operational costs to the City. Now the state allows increased ticket fees to help fund the program.

"The current legislation allows for the proceeds beyond the cost of the program to go to the school system," said Lee Jernigan, the city's interim Director of Engineering and Infrastructure . "So that allows us to fund the program purely through the violators paying the citations for themselves."

Fines, Profit and Proceeds

Violators are fined $100 for running red lights in the particular intersections. If the registered car owner doesn't contest the ticket or pay it within a 30-day period, the fine doubles to $200.

Arizona-based American Traffic Solutions paid about $1 million to install the city's cameras. They operate cameras in 35 cities, including New York City, Chicago and Wilmington, NC.

For each paid ticket, ATS receives $35, while the remaining funds go toward operational expenses, as well as the school system.

Cumberland County Schools superintendent, Dr. Frank Till said any profit will go toward one time funds -for things like technology programs.

"We certainly want the community to be safe so we're not counting on big dollars."

Tickets can be paid for in-person at 200 Dick Street in Downtown Fayetteville, over the phone or online at a website posted on the citation.

Grace Period

Although the cameras began operating Wednesday, there's a weeklong grace period for issuing tickets.

Violators will be sent warning tickets until July 8 at noon.

After that time, actual tickets will be mailed to registered car owners.

For Anthony Iocca, a Fayetteville resident, the program seems more reasonable than it did in the past when left and right turn drivers received citations, and when the old contractor made drivers prove they had a reason to be in the intersection on red a light for something like a funeral procession.

"They would make you prove you were at a funeral by cutting the article in the paper that there was a funeral that day," said Iocca. "You had to put it in the envelope and mail it to them, and then it took them I don't know how long before you finally got cleared."

Iocca said the ATS appeal process sounds like it is fair.

"They said everything I wanted to hear," he said. "Let's see if we see everything that they say."

Police Get To Use Images

While ATS is the enforcing agency for this civil violation, the Fayetteville Police Department will have access to the cameras for any investigative needs.

But they say the first priority is cutting down on serious accidents.

"That's our number one goal to save lives and to deter bad driving," said FPD assistant chief Anthony Kelly.
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