WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A bill in the North Carolina Senate could put a stop to the use of red light cameras that catch drivers in the act of breaking the law.
“I think we all understand how the traffic lights work and we’d be alright,” said Wilmington driver Daniel Trevor.
The City of Wilmington, however, put up 13 red light cameras to help drivers understand a little more. Now, a bill in the North Carolina Senate wants to outlaw photographic traffic regulators… in other words, put the brakes on red light cameras.
“I don’t think it’s a good idea basically because in the intersections in the City of Wilmington, we’ve seen a great reduction in traffic accidents in those intersections where we have those red light cameras.” Wilmington Police Officer Craig Melville said the cameras are beneficial, but the bill to ban them got through the Senate Transportation Committee Wednesday without opposition.
Wilmington driver Joyce Simmons said even though she’s been caught on camera, she does not agree with the ban. “Yes, I still paid the ticket because it was me. It was totally me. You couldn’t deny it at all. So, it’s pretty good. It keeps the city safe, you know, and like I said, a lot of people get into accidents, you don’t know who caused it, the cameras are there. I think they should stay.”
Trevor thinks the ban is a fantastic idea. “Yeah, I don’t know. I feel like there’s police on the road, and having the cameras is kind of overkill. I don’t know, feels kind of like Big Brother in my opinion.”
“We put them at the highest accident locations, so that’s why we strategically put them there, but I think probably every intersection, people are probably wondering if cameras are there or not, so in the back of their mind, I’m sure it does actually help at all intersections,” said Officer Melville.
If passed, the bill would ban all red light cameras in the state but would, in turn, impact students. Currently, fine money goes toward camera operational costs and schools. The full North Carolina Senate is set to consider the bill soon. If it gets the green light, it would move on to the North Carolina House.
A study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found the cameras save lives and prevent crashes in intersections, but other studies suggest the cameras increase other kinds of accidents such as rear-end fender benders.