The City of Raleigh implemented a red-light enforcement program, SafeLight Raleigh, in summer 2003. SafeLight Raleigh is part of a statewide initiative, where the State Legislature passed Senate Bill 243 allowing certain cities and towns, including those in Wake County, to install red light photo enforcement systems.
The goal of the SafeLight program in Raleigh is to reduce angle collisions at intersections where the problem continues after other safety-measures have failed to work. Cameras are a safe, effective tool to alert drivers to the danger of the intersection and reduce red-light runners.
SafeLight Raleigh manages the red light camera program using an automated enforcement vendor. The vendor is responsible for camera installation, maintenance, imaging processing, violations and payment processing, customer service, and adjudication support. Citations are sent to the registered owner of the vehicle and carry a $50 fine with an additional $50 penalty if the fine is not paid within a specified period. No driver's license or insurance points will be assessed.
The City of Raleigh is allowed to use the money from the payment of citations to cover any administrative costs to the operation of the SafeLight program, the buying or leasing of equipment, and paying the contractor to operate the system. State law requires that "clear proceeds" above any expenses go to the Wake County Public School System.
What is a Violation?
A violation has occurred when a car enters the intersection, crossing the stop bar, after the traffic signal has turned red. Two pictures will be taken of the vehicle. One is of the rear of the vehicle before it enters the intersection with the traffic signal showing the red light. This will show that the signal was red before the vehicle entered the intersection. The second is when the vehicle is in the intersection with traffic signal showing a red light. This will show that the vehicle continued into the intersection and did not try to stop just past the stop bar. A photo will not be taken if the traffic signal turns red after the vehicle is past the stop bar or if the vehicle gets stopped in the middle of the intersection.
Occurrences that are not considered violations:
- Being directed through the intersection by a uniformed officer of emergency worker
- Moving out of the way of an emergency vehicle
- In a funeral procession
The registered owner of the vehicle will be mailed the citation. Vehicle owners are responsible for violations unless they can show that someone else was in the "care, custody or control" of the vehicle when the violation occurred. The City will accept affidavits as allowed by law and an affidavit transferring responsibility is included on the back of each citation. Instructions on how to appeal a SafeLight citation also appear on the back of each citation. Timely appeals will be heard by an administrative hearing panel, usually within 30-60 days after the appeal is properly filed.
In conjunction with the camera system, the City of Raleigh plans an extensive public information campaign about the dangers of running red lights.
For further information, call 919-996-3030.
Red Light Cameras in other Cities
Approximately 50 communities in the United States were using red light cameras when the Raleigh City Council approved their use in Raleigh.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has found that red light camera enforcement in conjunction with public awareness can modify driving behavior and has been shown to reduce red light violations and intersection crashes. Nationwide each year, drivers who run red lights are responsible for an estimated 260,000 crashes resulting in approximately 200,000 injuries and 800 deaths. Cities across the country have reported fewer citations and crashes at intersections with the cameras.
SafeLight programs in other North Carolina cities include Wilmington and Knightdale.