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Charlotte Area News

City Council takes another look at red-light cameras

http://66.225.205.104/LM20100412.mp3

Four years ago the City of Charlotte stopped using cameras to keep an eye out for drivers who ran red lights. Charlotte city council members are toying with the idea of bringing that program back. For eight years, Charlotte drivers had an extra impetus not to run red lights. Cameras monitored 22 intersections across the city and $50 fines were issued to those who failed to stop. Those fines were meant to pay for upkeep of the cameras, but a High Point man filed a lawsuit that found a loophole in the law and meant the city couldn't keep the money. The city discontinued the program in 2006, but members of the city council haven't completely given up on the so-called SafeLight program. Tonight, the city will hear a presentation on the program's effectiveness. Doreen Szymanski with the city's Department of Transportation says overall accidents went down significantly once the cameras were in place. But after they were removed crashes continued to decrease. "There's a 20 percent reduction in citywide crashes since 2008 and we think that's related to the economy. We are seeing a reduction in traffic volumes and a change in travel patterns, so that could be affecting the findings we have in the post study." City council also wants to hear about the legal roadblocks of paying for the cameras with fines.