Eastern Wake News

Knightdale’s red light cameras stopped operating in October

Motorists driving along Knightdale Boulevard no longer have to worry about getting a ticket generated by a camera at one of several intersections along the town’s major roadway.

The town stopped using the red-light cameras in October, although they didn’t say anything publicly and left the cameras in place.

The change came to light Wednesday as the town council approved removal of an ordinance governing automatic photography at intersections in Knightdale.

The town chose not to renew its contract with red-light camera company RedFlex back in October when it ended.

The ordinance was deleted as police Chief Jason Godwin began looking at the town’s parking ordinances as part of a separate effort to clean up the town’s ordinances. In doing so, he found some old ordinances that needed revision or could just be deleted, he told the Council.

Town Manager Seth Lawless said the cameras helped reduce wrecks, but new traffic signals could also help with keeping the roads safe.

“(Knightdale Boulevard) has five more signalized intersections than it did when (red light cameras) started,” he said. “Traffic has been slowed down considerably.”

Lawless said new lights, especially near Interstate 540, seem to create a new traffic pattern that lends itself to fewer accidents.

That doesn’t mean the ordinance or the cameras won’t come back.

“We’re not saying we’re never going to put them back up but (we) need an appropriate deal (with RedFlex or some other company that offers the service),” Mayor Russell Killen said.

Knightdale faced criticism for their red light cameras from Apex resident Brian Ceccarelli in August last year.

Knightdale residents have also complained to town council about the timing of the stoplights and the tickets they received as a result of running through intersections under a red light.

Ceccarelli sued Cary in 2010 after receiving a ticket for running a red light the year before. He argued the yellow light was too short and the laws of physics made it impossible for him to stop in time.

The courts ruled in favor of the town, but Cary still took its cameras down.

At the same time, Knightdale was re-evaluating the terms of its contract with RedFlex. In September, Killen said the town would only renew its contract with RedFlex if the company agreed to pay for any legal fees that could come by way of a driver challenging the town in court.

“It’s a shame, the red light cameras had some good effects especially at Old Knight Road in reducing wrecks,” Killen said. “(But) we were going to get sued and it was going to spend hundreds of thousands of taxpayers’ money.”

With Knightdale abandoning red light cameras, Raleigh is the only municipality in the Triangle that still uses the cameras.

Wilmington is the only other locality in the state that uses red light cameras.