Editorial: Red-light cameras should go

September 12, 2013 

Cary resident Brian Ceccarelli stood before the Knightdale town council recently and made an impassioned argument against the town’s red-light camera program.

The cameras, posted at several intersections along Knightdale Boulevard digitally capture images of vehicles driving through stoplights. The images generate a ticket to the owner of the license plate captured on the camera image.

He argues that statistics cited by the town as proof that cameras make intersections safer by reducing the number of wrecks don’t really show that at all. Instead, he says, the opening of the Knightdale Bypass, which has taken much traffic off Knightdale Boulevard, has had a significant impact in reducing the number of crashes.

As a practical matter, here’s what we do know for sure. Drivers who drive through red lights instead of stopping do, indeed, run the risk of causing a wreck. We also know that drivers who are aware of the presence of red-light cameras will do whatever it takes to avoid the hassle of getting one of those tickets. Sometimes that means drivers try to stop on a dime. That sets up another unsafe situation for that driver and those following behind. The opportunity for a rear-end collision rises dramatically when the car in front stops too quickly and without warning.

Knightdale council members have plenty of reasons to take a second look at their red-light camera program. Trading one unsafe situation for another isn’t what the town really wants.

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