Time for a red light on NC’s red light camera laws

24 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands have red light cameras currently operating at least one location. 499 communities across the US operate red light cameras.

North Carolina passed  SB243 in 2001 under Marc Basnight, Jim Black and Mike Easley’s leadership authorizing 16 municipalities across the state to use red light cameras. The bill said it was “for safety, for schools but not for profit”. It had bi-partisan support.

It’s also been controversial with questions of cost v. proceeds, driver accountability, and adherence with legislative intent.  Some municipalities have tried it, many giving it up. Cary even sued over it. Today only Raleigh, Wilmington and Knightdale operate red light cameras.

Is it for safety? Studies say no. Is it a cash cow? Most definitely. Is it rigged? Physics say yes.

And then we learn just last week of alleged corruption= a fired salesman for one of the red light camera companies claims that he “bestowed gifts and bribes on municipal officials” in 12 states, including North Carolina.

In 2011 a bill was proposed, SB 187 in it’s original form, banning red light cameras. It passed the Senate 36 -14.  Approval was likely in the House.  However the bill sat in the House until June of 2012, when it was stripped of the red light camera ban and replaced with modifications to the budget. The ban has not been re-visited by the General Assembly.

Virginia and Georgia permit red light cameras. Tennessee allows red light and speed cameras (Yikes!) 9 states, including South Carolina prohibit the use of red light cameras. Should NC make it 10?



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