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SafeLight - Frequently Asked Questions

Last updated Jul. 15, 2016 - 7:21 pm
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If you cannot find what you are looking for in the FAQ's please contact a Customer Service Representative at 919-832-7436 for further assistance.

What is red light running?

A violation occurs when a motorist enters an intersection after the signal light has turned red. Motorists caught in an intersection when the signal changes to red - when waiting to turn, for example - are not red light runners.

Isn't conventional police enforcement sufficient?

Enforcing traffic laws in Raleigh by traditional means poses special difficulties for police, who in most cases must follow a violating vehicle through a red light in order to stop it. This can endanger motorists and pedestrians as well as officers, and police can't be everywhere at once. Raleigh doesn't have the resources to allow police to patrol intersections as often as would be needed to ticket all motorists who run red lights. SafeLight cameras allow police to focus on other enforcement needs.

What are red light cameras?

A red light camera system is connected to sensors buried in the pavement at the stop bar. A vehicle passing over the sensors above a pre-set minimum speed and following a specified interval after the signal has turned red triggers the camera. The camera records the date, time of day, elapsed time since the beginning of the red signal, and the speed of the vehicle. An electronic flash produces clear images of vehicles under all light and weather conditions. Learn more about How SafeLight Cameras Work.

Do the cameras photograph every vehicle passing through an intersection?

No. The cameras are set so only those vehicles that enter the intersection after the light has turned red are photographed. Drivers who enter on yellow and find themselves in an intersection when the light changes to red are not photographed. This technology is intended to photograph vehicles driven by motorists who enter an intersection after the signal has turned red.

Appealing SafeLight Tickets

What does the red-light camera photograph?

The cameras take two photographs:

  1. One of the rear of the vehicle before it enters the intersection with the traffic signal showing the red light. This will show city officials that the signal was red before the vehicle entered the intersection.
  2. One picture of the vehicle in the intersection with the red traffic signal. This will show City officials that the vehicle continued into the intersection and did not try to stop just past the stop bar.

When a violation occurs, who receives the citation?

SafeLight citations are mailed to the registered vehicle owner after the City of Raleigh has reviewed the photographs of the violation.

What if the registered owner was not driving the vehicle?

The owner is responsible for paying or appealing the citation to the SafeLight office. If the car had been reported stolen at the time of the violation, the owner must submit a copy of the filed police report. Learn more about Appealing a Citation, including how to transfer responsibility.

Will the citation add points to the driver's record?

No. Citations issued through the SafeLight program are non-criminal. Neither insurance nor license points are added.

How are citations appealed?

The SafeLight staff will set up an appointment for the owner with a hearing officer for an administrative hearing. The hearing officer will review the information provided by the vehicle owner and decide whether to withdraw the citation. Instructions for filing an appeal are printed on the back of each citation. View the appeal administrative hearing procedures.

What happens if the citation isn't paid or appealed?

A late penalty of $50 is added to the fine if a citation is not paid or appealed within 30 days after it is mailed. After that the information is forwarded to a collection agency where they will attempt to collect and the agency may report the matter to the local credit bureau, if not paid.

What law gives the City the right to issue the citation?

Senate Bill 243 passed by the North Carolina General Assembly in 2001.

Can I make a payment by credit card?

Yes, Visa and MasterCard payments can be made at the SafeLight Raleigh office located at One Exchange Plaza, Suite 100 Raleigh NC 27601. You may also make a payment online or by phone by calling 919-832-7436. View all of the violation payment options.

Who determined the amount of the fine?

The $50 fine for running a red traffic signal was set by the North Carolina General Assembly.

Who manages the SafeLight program?

SafeLight is a City of Raleigh program. In April 2003, The City of Raleigh partnered with Xerox, Inc. to operate the SafeLight program.

Where are SafeLight cameras located?

SafeLight cameras are located at intersections where chronic red light running causes frequent crashes. View a list of the City of Raleigh's SafeLight Camera Locations.

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