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The Daily Tar Heel

Raleigh Work Officals To Install Trafic Cameras

Benson Kirkman, Public Works Committee chairman, said the cameras will act as a regulator.

"We want to put the cameras in the really bad spots (of Raleigh)," Kirkman said. "My committee made recommendations to look at the cameras as an enforcement."

He said he believes more needs to be done with the measure.

"We are trying to get the General Assembly to give localities the option to implement the cameras," Kirkman said. "We want to see (the cameras) put in as a statewide option offered to localities."

Other N.C. towns -- including Chapel Hill -- are also discussing the cameras.

Kirkman and other council members believe there will also be reductions in car accidents.

"In cities with the cameras, there has been a dramatic reduction in accidents," he said.

Charlotte is such a city.

Brett Vines, communications manager for the Charlotte Department of Transportation, said the program has been a success.

"The city of Charlotte has cameras on 28 stoplights," Vines said. "Last year police officers wrote 73,000 tickets for red-light runners."

Vines also said Charlotte's Department of Transportation faced criticism from the public.

"Some thought it was a scheme for the city to make money," he said. "But overall, we experienced a 24 percent reduction in accidents on the intersections with the cameras and 10 percent citywide accident reduction."

Raleigh council members might also expect the criticism since many people believe the cameras are unnecessary and invasive.

"I am not a fan of putting the cameras everywhere," Kirkman said. "It is too much like 'Big Brother' watching (and though) it is expensive, the roads need the cameras."

The final decision for the cameras will be left to the General Assembly who has not even appointed a committee to the measure yet.

"It might take a while," Kirkman said.

In Charlotte where the program has seen some success, it took over a year to get the measure implemented.

But Kirkman said he is still optimistic.

"To many people, a yellow light means stomp on it," he said. "People should not have to go to the street, look both directions, look at the light, look both directions and then pray.

"If you think about it that way, it is not about revenue; it is about saving lives."

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The State & National Editor can be reached at stntdesk@unc.edu.

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