City leaders: red light cameras paying off in Wilmington

While drivers may not be fans of red light cameras, which photograph the license plates of cars that enter intersections after traffic lights have turned red, Wilmington officials say they're working.
While drivers may not be fans of red light cameras, which photograph the license plates of cars that enter intersections after traffic lights have turned red, Wilmington officials say they're working.

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – While drivers may not be fans of red light cameras, which photograph the license plates of cars that enter intersections after traffic lights have turned red, Wilmington officials say they're working.

In fact, the addition of red light cameras in Wilmington have helped to significantly reduce the number of car crashes at two particular intersections, according to a new article posted on the city's website.

The YouTube video above emphasizes some of the worst crashes that have happened in Wilmington this year, highlighting the dangers of running a red light.

Findings from a three-year review compare data from before and after the cameras were installed, revealing that since 2010, there's been a significant decrease in the number of wrecks at the intersection of Market and 23rd streets and at the intersection of Market Street and New Centre Drive.

At Market and 23rd Streets, the number of angle crashes have dropped 67 percent, while the number of left turn collisions have dropped 25 percent.

At Market Street and New Centre, angle crashes have dropped 87 percent while left turn collisions have dropped 43 percent.

Despite those numbers, there was a slight increase in rear-end collisions at the intersections. Program critics say this could be because drivers are making sudden stops at intersections to avoid running red lights and being fined.

Still, in all rear-endings at those aforementioned Wilmington intersections, the vehicles that were rear-ended had been completely stopped before being hit and not because the cars suddenly stopped.

Red light cameras were implemented in 2000, and there are 13 cameras at what are described as "key" intersections in the city.

When a driver runs a red light at an intersection with a red light camera, he or she is fined $50, which isn't counted as a traffic violation and doesn't affect driving records or insurance points.

State law mandates that the city can keep 10 percent of revenue from the cameras, and the rest must go to schools in New Hanover County.

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